Monday, March 23, 2009

OOPS, I did it again (and again and again and again!)

The long awaited Mt. Redoubt eruption finally began last night (Sunday) at 10:40pm and continued throughout the night and into early morning, with 4 significant eruptions having been observed. Well, not really observed in the visual sense as there was darkness during the night and then heavy cloud cover during the day, but still, observed by all of the sensitive instruments in place on and around and above the volcano. No webcam photos recently, however, as the webcam on the Northwest slope of the volcano is registering as "inactive" at this point. Hmmm, wonder why?

I was first made aware of this eruptive activity at 11:05pm last night, by my ever alert husband who saw the first news item appear on the internet. We discussed what to do in the event of massive ashfall, but decided to wait and see what the Alaska Volcano Observatory and National Weather Service had to say regarding possible ashfall in our area. We'd had pretty woop-ass winds throughout the day, coming from the east, so I thought that any ash would be blown away from our area. (I know about those winds as I hiked with the dogs in those winds early in the day...) Even knowing that the wind was in our favor, I still couldn't help sitting in bed and looking out into the darkness and wondering what we might wake up to. But alas, we have dodged this bullet, if only by a few miles as people 30 miles west in Willow were reporting ashfall in their town.

The upper level winds have blown the ash cloud to the Northwest of the volcano and towards points 30 miles west of us (Willow) and then beyond towards Cantwell (150 miles Northwest of Wasilla). Sorry for you folks, but happy for me! All in all it seems like the eruption was so violent that most of the ash was carried very high into the atmosphere and won't be making it's way down anytime soon. At last report the winds were shifting to carry the ash over Anchorage, but the majority of the ash was suspended from 40,000 to 60,000 feet and isn't expected to fall over any landmass in the near future.

So, let's all look forward to colorful sunrises and sunsets in Southcentral Alaska for the next few days. The Alaska Volcano Observatory does remind us, however, that the last eruptive phase of Mt. Redoubt lasted for over 4 months, so we probably have not seen the last of it by far.

Time for a volcano party...Flaming Volcano drinks for everyone (you know, the really sweet drinks in the big volcano bowl with the flaming sterno in the middle and the really long straws?)