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UPDATE: Green alert declared as Turrialba Volcano ashfall intensifies

January 5, 2017

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) declared a Green Alert for the Central Valley on Thursday afternoon as Turrialba Volcano continued to pump ash intothe skies in the latest of the constant eruptions that have lasted throughout the past two weeks.

A statement from Casa Presidencial indicated that a combination of continued eruptions, a dry air system over Central America that has reduced the chance of rain, and strong winds have all contributed to the increase of ashfall in the area.

The CNE asks municipal emergency commissions to be vigilant, keep their communities informed and monitor ash levels. If people have to leave their houses in areas where significant ash is present, the government recommends that they cover their mouths and noses with towels or dust masks. The CNE also suggests not consuming food outdoors and to even avoid driving in areas with high ash levels.

On Thursday morning, the National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) reported more ashfall being carried by southwest winds towards the San José metro area. Ash was seen covering cars and buildings Wednesday throughout the capital and the broader Central Valley, including as far north as Heredia and as far west as Escazú.

Dr. Mauricio Mora of the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) reported Thursday morning that those in San José can expect to see more effects from Turrialba’s persistent activity.

“These episodes are separated by periods of low ash emissions and light harmonic tremors,” Mora said in the report. “The winds are blowing southwest this morning, according to data from the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), and will therefore continue to affect the Central Valley.”

Inbound and outgoing flights seem to be back to normal Thursday after numerous delays and cancellations on Wednesday. Traveler’s can check their flight status on the Juan Santamaría Airport web site.

According to an OVSICORI report, the areas with the most ash fall have been: Barva, Moravia, Santa Bárbara, San Francisco de Heredia, Guadalupe, Coronado, Santo Domingo, Tibás, Escazú, Central Heredia, Pavas, Carrizal, Sabanilla and Alajuela.

A Facebook video sent to OVSICORI and posted on the institute’s page Wednesday shows just how much ash is being sent into the middle of the country.

The Tico Times will continue to monitor the volcano’s activity throughout the day for updates on potential flight cancellations or emergency alerts.

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