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 08.17.17

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Alaskans: Check those volcano rumors

Moments after making an appointment for a car repair, the scheduler called me back. Ashfall was due to hit Anchorage in 15 minutes, she said. They were canceling everyone and closing for the day. I moved my car indoors, found our face masks, then checked the Web for updates. The volcano was in Code Red, actively erupting, but no Anchorage ash was expected. Did someone at my auto glass shop know something the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the Municipality of Anchorage, and the National Weather Service didn't?

No. The shop had made a mistake, acting on an urgent-sounding rumor, and losing probably thousands of dollars in the process. If you live in Alaska, there are a number of reliable resources to inform you if (and how) volcano activity is expected to affect your area.

If you hear a rumor about the volcano, the following are some of the best places to check it out:

National Weather Service Alaska Region Augustine Updates - The very best source of up-to-date ashfall information or forecasts of where ashclouds may pass. There is also a form you can use to report if you see ash fall in your area.

Alaska Volcano Observatory Augustine Eruption Page - A fascinating site, with dozens of photos of the volcano before, during and between eruptions, as well as real-time images. Study the volcano alongside the scientists! You can keep up with hourly observations and seismic data—and even download and print out a data collection sheet to use for collecting and submitting ash samples for study. (See the status reports in the right lower corner for the most recent updates on eruptions.)

Municipality of Anchorage - Expect any updates on Mt Augustine Volcano to appear here, under the “What’s New” area. When last checked, the Mt. Augustine update included information on current Anchorage impact (none expected) and links to information on ash hazards, air quality and what to do to prevent damage or health impacts should ash fall.

Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management - This site includes an “interagency operating plan for volcanic ash episodes” as well as more detailed volcano preparedness information covering everything from equipment protection to driving/car safety.

- Real-time flight and arrival information at Ted Stevens Anchorage International AirportMany flights have been diverted or canceled due to concerns about volcanic ash. (This airport-based site lists all arrivals and departures and has no volcano-specific information, but should be useful for travelers.)

Phone recording on Alaska volcano status:  907-786-7478.

-Compiled by Sonya Senkowsky

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| Posted 01.14.06 at 4:29 am


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