Shishaldin Volcano’s Alert Status Upgraded After Unusual Activity
AVO scientist Kristi Wallace says the unusual activity at Shishaldin began Wednesday.
“Little bit ago, AVO changed the color code at Shishaldin from green to yellow based on increased temperatures at the summit crater of Shishaldin Volcano as well as increased steaming yesterday,” she says. “Both of those observations were observed via satellite imagery.
Wallace says the observations don’t mean Shishaldin is in imminent danger of eruption. The yellow status just indicates behavior that isn’t normal.
Shishaldin is the highest peak in the Aleutians, rising about 9,400 feet above sea level. It’s located on Unimak Island about 100 miles northeast of Unalaska.
Shishaldin was last elevated to yellow in 2009, when the same kind of activity occurred. Wallace says that anomaly didn’t result in anything more serious.
Historically, though, Shishaldin has been very active:
“It’s erupted approximately 28 times since 1775, so in historic times it’s erupted quite frequently, although the eruptions are typically low-level plumes and ash and steam plumes,” Wallace says. “So [it’s] not a particularly dangerous volcano, although the eruption that occurred in 1999 did send ash plumes as high as 45,000 feet above sea level.”
Wallace says the AVO is going to keep monitoring Shishaldin for signs of explosions. But the seismic stations closest to the summit aren’t working right now. That means using more distant monitoring points as their main sources of data.
“There’s a whole network of stations, so we’re just relying on other stations that are not quite as close to the summit area where we’re seeing the activity,” Wallace says. “Hopefully those will be enough for us to pick up a seismic signal, although this volcano’s not just monitored with a seismic network. We’re still using satellite imagery, and then the infrasound stations which are good at detecting explosion signals.”
There are two other volcanoes in the Aleutians currently on a yellow alert. Those are Cleveland, 175 miles southwest of Unalaska, and Veniaminof, northeast of King Cove.
MAGNITUDE 5.1 – CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO REGION
Subject To Change
Depth: 14 km
Distances: 1161km (721mi) SSW of Male, Maldives
1453km (903mi) E of Victoria, Seychelles
1711km (1063mi) NNE of Ile Rodrigues, Mauritius
1753km (1089mi) SSW of Kolachel, India
MAGNITUDE 5.8 – SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
Subject To Change
Depth: 49 km
Distances: 90km (56mi) SSE of Lata, Solomon Islands
465km (289mi) NNW of Luganville, Vanuatu
725km (450mi) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
733km (455mi) NNW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
1056km (656mi) N of We, New Caledonia
Indonesia Volcano Erupts Killing 14
An Indonesian volcano erupted on the island of Sumatra, leaving at least 14 people dead. Torrents of lava and pyroclastic flows gave neighboring villages an almost apocalyptic look.
2,460-meter-high Mount Sinabung erupted three times on Saturday, producing columns of ash about 2 kilometers tall and spreading hot rocks and ash over a 4.5 kilometer radius, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for National Agency For Disaster Management (BNPB).
Four schoolchildren, a journalist and a school teacher are among those killed in the Saturday eruption, reports Indonesia’s Jakarta Globe newspaper. This is the first time the volcanic activity in the area is known to have resulted in deaths, Andi Arief, a presidential staff member, told Reuters.
Three people who suffered burns have been hospitalized locally, Karo district official, Johnson Tarigan, told AFP.
Though the volcanology agency recorded the “sagged” seismic activity of the volcano, a dangerous zone of 5 kilometers remained in place, officials said.
“A handful of villages, about 16, must be emptied,” Nugroho added.
“No evacuations could be made at this stage because of the potential for more eruptions,” Arief said.
On the eve of the eruption local authorities allowed nearly 14,000 villagers to return to the village situated next to the volcano. In early January, the government evacuated more than 20,000 of residents near the area.
Mount Sinabung had been quiet for around 400 years until it rumbled back to life in 2010, and then again in the fall of 2013. In recent months the volcano has become increasingly active, regularly spewing columns of ash several kilometers into the air.
Mount Sinabung is one of 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia which is prone to seismic upheaval as it rests on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire encircling the Pacific Ocean.
The country’s most deadly volcanic catastrophe in recent years was the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi. The eruption occurred near the densely populated city of Yogyakarta in central Java and killed more than 350 people.
MAGNITUDE 5.0 – GREECE
Subject To Change
Depth: 2 km
Distances: 295 km W of Athens, Greece / pop: 729,137 / local time: 18:33:40.0 2014-02-01
120 km W of Pátra, Greece / pop: 163,360 / local time: 18:33:40.0 2014-02-01
12 km W of Argostólion, Greece / pop: 9,820 / local time: 18:33:40.0 2014-02-01
6 km W of Lixoúrion, Greece / pop: 3,758 / local time: 18:33:40.0 2014-02-01
Flights are cancelled and homes left without power as storms and floods wreak more havoc in Britain and the Republic of Ireland
Heavy rain, large waves and strong winds wreaked havoc in Britain and Ireland today, cancelling flights and sparking a “significant risk to life” warning.
The worst of the weather was battering the Republic of Ireland and gusts are expected to pick up across Wales and southern parts of England during the day.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee by conference call at 3pm.
The Environment Agency warned “extraordinary measures” may be taken in Gloucestershire today to keep back tidal and river floods.
It issued severe flood warnings – meaning there is an imminent danger to life – for several parts of the county and the coasts of Cornwall and north Devon.
Further warnings are in place along the length of the River Severn amid fears it could burst its banks.
Flood barriers have already been installed in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the water level rises.
The Environment Agency warned against all non-essential travel amid fears drivers could become stranded, while Gloucestershire Police urged people to stay away from river banks.
Lesser warnings remain in place for many parts of Britain, including the already blighted Somerset levels and west Wales, where 49 flood warnings and 15 alerts have been issued this morning.
In the the Republic of Ireland, there were reports of severe flooding in Limerick City with the river Shannon bursting its banks.
With gusts of almost 80mph in coastal areas of the country, several parts were hit by flooding and at one stage 5,500 homes and properties were left without power, 4,000 of them in Ennis, Co Clare.
Flights out of Dublin airport were affected because of the gales force winds. Flights to Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Cardiff, Paris and Madrid had to be cancelled.
Isabel Webster, reporting from the River Parrett in Burrowbridge, Somerset, tweeted at 8.30am: “High tide in Burrowbridge this morning. It’s just touching the sand bags.”
Minutes later she tweeted: “Water is seeping through giant sandbags onto road beyond at high tide here in Burrowbridge.”
Amid fears the bags would not hold back the water an emergency team from the Environment Agency, rushed to the scene to bolster the defences.
There are fears that flooding in the area will worsen as river levels rise over the coming hours and tomorrow.
Meanwhile, David Cameron has admitted a “long-term” action plan is needed to reduce the devastating impact of flooding on communities.
He insisted the Government was doing “everything we can to help people recover as quickly as possible”.
However, he admitted there was work to do, especially in Somerset, where some residents remain cut off after the wettest January on record.
In a letter to the Western Daily Press, Mr Cameron said: “Like everybody across the country I feel enormous sympathy for the people who live on the Somerset Levels and are suffering from the devastating impact of the flooding.”
He added: “We need long-term action to reduce the risk of this happening again. That is why (Environment Secretary) Owen Paterson is working with the Environment Agency (EA) and local agencies in Somerset to deliver a robust plan for the next 20 years.”
The Prime Minister said plans to dredge rivers will begin “as soon it is safe to do so” and the EA will spend “the coming months improving river flows” across the south west, dredging and weed clearance.
Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has claimed a lack of river dredging for the past 40 years has worsened the impact of the flooding in Somerset.
“The EA decided to abandon the dredging for the sake of the river bank and they sold the wonderful dredging machines for scrap,” said the dairy farmer.
“Can you believe it? That was 40 years ago. This (flooding) is the result of that decision.”
In the Republic of Ireland, Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan were told to prepare for possible flooding, while communities in west Wales and along the south coast from Dorset to Kent were also put on alert.
Hundreds of university students in Aberystwyth were told to leave accommodation on the town’s seafront amid fears high tides could hit the town for the second time in a month.
Wintry weather swept across northern areas on Friday, closing the Lake District’s exposed Kirkstone Pass and causing hazardous driving conditions elsewhere.
The latest forecasts will be met with trepidation in flood-stricken communities in Somerset, where the military is on standby to help with the relief effort.
On Tuesday, Prince Charles will meet people who remain cut off by water after the wettest January on record.
Some residents have criticised the Government and the Environment Agency for what they say is a lack of action to prevent the floods.