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A volcano warning

Ash clouds over Antigua (Photo courtesy Antigua and Barbuda government)

Ash clouds over Antigua (Photo courtesy Antigua and Barbuda government)

ST. JOHN’S – The National Office of Disaster Services today warned Antiguans to take “the necessary precautions” against the effects from the Soufriere Hills Volcano in neighbouring Montserrat even as officials on the British Overseas Territory said that activity at the volcano “is low”.

“Residents may notice a slight discolouration in the atmosphere and a foul odour. As a result of a change in the wind direction, a stench caused by the gas emitting from the Soufriere Hills volcano has reached our shores,” the NODS said in a statement, adding that it is encouraging people who have sensitive eyes to stay in-doors.

“Those who suffer from asthmatic conditions are also advised to do the same, avoid strenuous physical activities and take measures necessary for their well-being,” NODS said, adding it would continue to monitor the situation regarding the volcano that roared to life in July 1995.

But the authorities at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) said that one rockfall, two volcano-tectonic earthquakes and one hybrid event had been recorded during the entire week.

It said that sulphur dioxide measurements for the week gave an average flux of 368 tonnes a day with a maximum of 552 and a minimum of 213 tonnes daily.

“Variable winds blew the volcanic plume over inhabited areas for much of the week, particularly the first half, and the smell of volcanic gases was very noticeable at times, “it said, adding “there has been no visible emission of ash from the volcano this week”.

“MVO has received some reports of ash, but these could not be verified,”it said, adding that pyroclastic flows can occur at any time without warning on any side of the volcano”. (Antigua Observer)

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