The eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has sent so much lava flowing into nearby Kapoho Bay that the area is now completely filled. At the adjacent Kapoho Beach lots to the north, "just a few homes" are left standing, she added.
Thousands in the Puna area had to evacuate after lava fissures started opening in neighbourhoods a month ago. Most of those homes are believed to have been lost.
Officials haven't yet released the total number of homes destroyed in Kapoho. As of early Tuesday, lava burned down at least 159 homes, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports.
One of the homes lost was that of Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, Snyder said.
No injuries were reported as most residents heeded the advice to leave. The area is primarily home to vacation rentals, but there are a lot of permanent residences there too.
Civil defense officials said Kapoho Bay itself had been filled in with lava that extended seven-tenths of a mile from what had been the shoreline.
Carolyn Boudreault, a Kapoho resident who is now staying in Boston with her family, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the bay was a treasured place.
"Right now, we don't have anything".
"I've been crying a lot", she said.
That's a lot of lava, but flow volumes can be extraordinarily hard to measure, the USGS said. "I wish I could just find out if I have a house".
Lava had covered almost 8 square miles (20.7 sq km) of landscape as of Monday, and some 9,900 earthquakes had been recorded on the Big Island since Kilauea rumbled back to life last month.
An explosion rocked Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Tuesday morning, spewing ash almost a mile into the air and sparking an natural disaster that registered 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"Unlike lava, which you can see coming and avoid, we cannot see or predict earthquakes, nor can we foresee a summit explosion, but both threats continue", park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said.