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Lava flow continues to threaten major Hawaii highway

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Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, BIG ISLAND — The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said the Mauna Loa volcano’s main lava flow is approximately 1.8 miles from Daniel K. Inouye Highway ― and moving at an average rate of about 20 feet per hour.

“Funneling at the vent is still ongoing. It’s roughly similar to what we’ve seen in the previous days,,” said Matthew Patrick, who showed a live view of the the lava channel from the field. “The flow here is steady and sustained.”

Scientists said they are also monitoring a new overflow about 4 kilometers upslope from the lava front.

Meanwhile, officials continued to reiterate there is no direct threat to downslope communities.

Earlier this week, 20 Hawaii National Guard members were activated to assist law enforcement with traffic control measures. One main goal: To ensure lava spectators are able to safely get through a special viewing area.

Since the viewing area was opened, about 17,000 cars have passed through.

The Mauna Loa eruption started Nov. 27 after months of elevated earthquake activity.

The 13,681-foot Mauna Loa volcano had been rumbling more in the last several months, prompting many to believe an eruption was imminent. The last time Mauna Loa erupted was in 1984.

The USGS is providing a livestream of the eruption on its website.