Nov 23, 2018 – ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – After a day of high ash clouds and resulting hazardous air quality, the threat level of an active volcano on the Alaska Penninsula has been officially downgraded.
Veniaminof volcano is now an orange threat for aviation, and in “watch” mode, rather than red and “warning,” according to officials with the United States Geological Survey and the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
The threat was upgraded yesterday after observers in Perryville, along with webcam recordings, showed ash overnight at the Veniaminof volcano on the Alaska Peninsula. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the ash plume rose up to 15,000 feet and spread over 150 miles to the Southeast.
Now, even though the level has been downgraded, earlier-made warnings for air quality remain in effect. In a remark from the USGS, officials said, “Ash fall remains possible in nearby communities.”
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality advisory for the Aleutian Chain, specifically the Alaska Peninsula, Shumagin and Semidi Islands.
This will last from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday at 6 p.m. According to the department, a wind shift into the evening will carry ash into the community of Perryville and the islands if the eruptive activity at Veniaminof continues.
“There are potential health risks from the ash on the ground, winds or human activity can cause ash to be re-entrained into the air,” the department wrote in an email. “People with respiratory conditions should be aware of the potential of ash in their area, and to use caution.”
The DEC said it advises everyone to avoid unnecessary exposure to ash and to wear a disposable face mask outdoors to reduce inhalation of ash particles.
“Dust masks can be purchased at most hardware stores. Masks that seal to the face provide the best protection. Alternatively, a wet cloth or bandanna placed over the mouth and nose can help reduce contact,” DEC stated.