Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, moves gradually and persistently as she deposits lava across the Big Island of Hawaii. People in the small town lying in its path say the lava will reshape the community yard by yard as it slides toward the ocean.

“She is so gentle, but so unrelenting. She is just slow and steady,” said Jamila Dandini, a retiree who stopped at a coffee shop down the road from where scientists have forecast the lava will likely cross.

Lava from a vent at Kilauea volcano has been sliding northeast toward the ocean since June. Last month, scientists said it was two weeks away from hitting the main road in Pahoa, a small town of about 950 residents. The lava slowed but has largely remained on course.

Late Wednesday, it was about 200 metres away from Pahoa Village Road, which goes through the commercial centre of the Big Island’s rural, mostly agricultural community of Puna, Hawaii County civil defence officials said. It was travelling about five to 10 metres an hour.

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