At 11:47 pm Thursday night, Mount Redoubt volcano 100 miles SW of Anchorage erupted again. It has been erupting fairly continuously since Monday's first six eruptions. But we dodged the bullet on that one! The ash clouds were blown northwest up the Susitna Valley over Mount McKinley rather than onto Anchorage. Early this morning more eruptions sent ash clouds 65,000' into the sky and the ash cloud was blown southeast depositing its microscopic glass shards in a grey dust on Homer, Alaska. That shut down all Alaska Airlines flights in and out of Anchorage.
But just a few minutes ago, the volcano blew again, and this time the Puff Prediction shows the ash heading for Anchorage at every altitude. Ash is composed of tiny shards of glass, like obsidian, that can be devastating to engines of all kinds, so air filters are at a premium. It can infect lungs and sinuses, so Alaskans are stocking up on face masks. Hundreds of thousands are available at Home Depot, drug stores, and most department stores. If ash falls tomorrow, it can shut down a variety of businesses. The airlines are wrapping the planes in plastic. Car owners are hiding them in the garages. The military has whisked all their planes to other air bases, like Fairbanks.
Here's what we read from the National Weather Service:
1224 AM AKDT FRI MAR 27 2009It's a big mess, and it could continue for months!
...ASHFALL ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM AKDT EARLY THIS
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ANCHORAGE HAS ISSUED AN ASHFALL
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM AKDT EARLY THIS MORNING.
MOUNT REDOUBT ERUPTED TO 38,000 FT AT 1148 PM THURSDAY. MINOR
ASHFALL OF A TRACE TO ONE EIGHTH INCH IS EXPECTED THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY
MOUNT REDOUBT REMAINS ACTIVE AND ADDITIONAL ERUPTIONS ARE POSSIBLE.
AN ASHFALL ADVISORY MEANS THAT ASH WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THE
ADVISORY AREA. PEOPLE IN AREAS OF ASHFALL SHOULD SEAL WINDOWS AND
DOORS. PROTECT ELECTRONICS AND COVER AIR INTAKES AND OPEN WATER
SUPPLIES. MINIMIZE DRIVING. LISTEN TO YOUR RADIO STATION FOR