Pavlof Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the U.S. over the last three decades, erupted Sunday around 4 p.m and has been restless ever since. According to satellite observations, on Monday, the 8,251 ft-tall volcano covered 400 feet of northeastern Alaska in a thick cloud of ash, impairing air traffic in the area.
Local authorities said that they saw ash falling from the skies on Sunday evening. On Monday, at around 1.30 a.m. it was literally raining ash, authorities said later that day. The area around the volcano had been blanketed in up to three-quarters of an inch of volcanic ash.
Locals noted that they can see Pavlof Volcano ‘glowing’ at night although they cannot see its shape due to the cloud of ash it has surrounded itself with. Village Public Safety Officer Barrett Taylor of the Aleutian community likened the volcano with a cigarette lit in the darkness.
Authorities said that all Aleutian communities in the east should comply with an Air Quality Advisory until Wednesday morning. Some airline companies cancelled their flights until Tuesday.
Alaska Airlines announced that 41 of its domestic flights were cancelled in the wake of the eruption. Flights will be resumed as early as Tuesday weather reports confirm that it is safe to take off. If weather conditions get better sooner, the company’s 54 flights to the affected areas would resume Mar. 29. Air travelers are advised to check Alaska Airline site for future updates before heading to the airport.
As of Monday morning, Bering Air also cancelled all its flights. In the afternoon, the flights were expected to resume. PenAir and Ravn Alaska cancelled their flights yesterday morning, too.
Fen Kinneen of Bering Air told reporters yesterday that the company’s flights would go as scheduled in the afternoon and evening as forecast data showed that the ash cloud drifted eastward.
Kinneen said that the planes would take off as soon as weather forecasts confirm that it is safe to do so. In such cases, the skies may look blue but passengers remain grounded as the volcano may have another outburst.
“I can see why it’s frustrating, but given the forecast — volcanic ash and aircraft aren’t a good mix,”
The National Weather Service recommends people with respiratory problems in the affected area to stay indoors as may experience difficult breathing outside. Electronic devices should also be protected against the ash.
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