A volcanic eruption more than 2,500 miles away from Juneau on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula has caused dozens of flight cancellations and delays across Alaska, including many in Juneau on Wednesday and Thursday.
Shiveluch Volcano began erupting and releasing ash into the atmosphere earlier this week — its largest eruption in nearly six decades — and clouds of ash began driving toward Alaska over the Aleutian Islands and across the Bering Sea.
As of early Thursday evening Nate Eckstein, Science and Operations Office Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, told the Empire that while the ash was largely concentrated in the Gulf of Alaska east of Kodiak Island, it was possible the cloud would reach Yachitat late Thursday evening and could also trail into the panhandle by Friday morning.
Eckstein told the Empire there is little concern about health hazards from the ashfall, noting the cloud is primarily disrupting air travel as it looms around 36,000 feet into the air.
In an email statement sent to the Empire, Alaska Airlines reported 31 flights as of 3 p.m. have been canceled due to the eruption and more cancellations may be on the way.
“As a safety precaution, we have canceled some flights to and from Alaska and within the state. We also expect flight delays throughout the day,” it stated. “We continue to monitor the ash cloud, and depending on its location, movement and timing, we might need to cancel additional flights.”
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