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Aviation warning ends for Aleutian Islands as volcanic ash cloud moves southeast away from the region

Shiveluch Volcano as seen from the International Space Station in July 2007.
NASA via public domain
Shiveluch Volcano as seen from the International Space Station in July 2007.

The National Weather Service has ended an aviation warning for the Aleutian Islands issued after a massive eruption at Russia’s Shiveluch Volcano this week produced an ash cloud that drifted over the region.

The ash cloud has moved southeast away from the Aleutians, said Nate Eckstein, a science and operations officer at the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. As of Friday morning, it hung over the Gulf of Alaska and north Pacific Ocean.

“We have kind of a complicated system, because this volcanic cloud is wrapped into a low that’s south of the Gulf of Alaska,” said Eckstein. “Some parts of it have gone into British Columbia and the Yukon and Western Canada.”

Tendrils of the volcanic cloud have even moved over Washington State.

Eckstein said the volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula is still erupting and the ash advisory center is continuing to monitor its activity, analyzing images to see how the cloud is breaking up and where the pieces may move next.

Depending on the wind, Eckstein said more ash could pass over the Aleutians and affect travel in the region.

On Thursday, Aleutian Airways and Grant Aviation delayed morning flights due to the ash cloud, and Ravn Alaska canceled its morning flight from Anchorage to Unalaska. All three airlines said flights were back on track by Thursday afternoon.

Beyond the Aleutians, Alaska Airlines had canceled 37 flights by Friday at 11 a.m., bringing its total cancelations to more than 90 since Wednesday. An Alaska spokesperson said the destinations were “too numerous to list,” affecting flights to and from Alaska as well as within the state.

No ashfall is expected in Alaska.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
Isabelle Ross
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