Madame Pele Changes Everything, Part Two

November, 2014

 Madam Pele, Hawaii's Volcano Godess has taken her first house in Pahoa Village.
Aloha Nui!
The lava flow threatening Pahoa Town is, as of today (11/10/2014), in the village. It has stopped only a few yards short of crossing the main road in Pahoa, but the flow is oozing out of many “break-outs” upslope from there. It has finally taken its first house and this morning began inundating the Pahoa Transfer Station. It has become an agonizing waiting game for the residents of Pahoa and the vicinity. Many have evacuated, some are still waiting until the lava is at their doors.
Meanwhile, if (when?) the flow takes out the road through Pahoa and then the highway, the folks who live south of Pahoa Town will at least have a way in and out now on the old roads made passable by the County crews. For now, these roads are still open, but it seems it is just a matter of time.
For accurate day-to-day information on this, go to: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php
Maps, photos, Webcam views, and other information about Kilauea Volcano are available at: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php. 
There are always current videos of this event in real time on Youtube. Enter "Pahoa lava flow" and check the "filters" box for today's uploads.

OK, since you are probably here because of an interest in living in Hawaii and particularly on the awesome Big Island, how does it affect you and your choices of where to look? Is this your golden opportunity to buy some bargain-priced real estate?
If Pele's history is any guide, this lava flow will, if it continues to flow, eventually make its way to the ocean. Unless it finds some old tubes (underground tunnels from ancient lava flows) and goes underground, it will take out all three of the roads connecting any areas of Puna south of Pahoa to Hilo and environs. At that point, the only way to get in and out will be the newly restored Chain of Craters Road that goes through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. That will mean well over an hour's drive to Hilo, not an attractive option for anyone who needs to commute. The County is working on that road repair now.
The volcano is and always has been unpredictable. This current flow could stop today and never restart. It could continue but dramatically change direction and spare Pahoa altogether. It could make its way to the ocean and then stop forever, allowing the roads it covers to be repaired. That's the really difficult part; there is no way to plan any solutions or repairs.
The County is working hard to avoid leaving 9000 folks stranded in Lower Puna, and will continue to do so. But keep in mind that no County road department is able to stay ahead of Pele when she wants it her way. For a reminder of what can happen, check out Google's satellite view of the eight miles of road that she took out over many years, starting at Kalapana and then up Chain of Craters Road. And even when the County finishes building a new road over the top of that old, cold flow, it could get covered again.
So back to real estate. Right now, there are many homes and lots on the market at bargain prices. Your job, if this sounds attractive to you, is to asses your personal needs. Will you need to get in and out of the area on a regular basis? How willing are you to take your chances on what Madam Pele has in store?
If you feel lucky, go shopping. If you're still interested in this wonderful, exciting and ever-changing part of Paradise, study a good map of the entire area so you'll get a better picture of what it looks like, where everything is relative to Pahoa Town and the current lava flow, and where the roads are that will most likely be your link to the rest of the Island. If you have no need to be close to town, the areas south of Pahoa could be the answer for you.
This is also an opportunity to rent a home at a bragain rate. There are many homes now vacated by tenants who need to commute on a daily basis and didn't want to take any chances. The owners of these homes would, in many cases, rather rent at a reduced rate than to leave their homes empty. Some very good deals could be made with folks who have their empty homes for sale, if you don't mind the thought of having to move again if the house sells. This would work well if you're just trying to get a feel for the area and to have a place to land for a while.
If you find yourself working directly with an owner selling his or her home, please keep in mind that s/he is very likely selling under duress. Please be sensitive and work with this person in a manner like you would appreciate if you were in their predicament. Nobody likes to feel taken advantage of.
Keep in mind that all of this conversation is about the areas of the Puna District south of Pahoa. Any areas north of Pahoa and the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision are unaffected by this situation, at least as it is projected to progress.
I'm checking in daily with the events here and will post new Updates as things move along. My thoughts go out to those for whom this is a troubling time.

Mahalo for listening, and if you have any questions or other thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to email me!

With abundant aloha always,

Skip & Camille
We wish you all the best, and never forget to
Please Live Aloha!
Mahalo for "listening."
Skip Thomsen & Ohana
Updated 11/10/2014