British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

St Vincent’s volcanic emissions could reach BVI if wind shifts

St Vincent’s volcanic emissions could reach BVI if wind shifts

The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has said emissions from the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines could reach the BVI.

Relaying a bulletin from the Antigua & Barbuda Meteorological Services on Tuesday, the DDM said the BVI could be affected by ash and dust, specifically.

If this happens, forecasters predict that it would be the result of “a shift of winds at the lower levels of the atmosphere”.

“The chance of emissions reaching the islands is low but, there is a reasonable worst-case scenario of it happening. If it does happen, the impacts would be minor, but the threat of health problems would be elevated for sensitive people, such as asthmatics, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children,” the DDM stated.

Severe volcanic emissions such as ash are already affecting countries closer to St Vincent such as Barbados, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

What’s happening with the volcano now

In the meantime, the DDM said this morning that seismic activity at La Soufrière showed a similar pattern to yesterday. Small long-period earthquakes continued to gradually increase after the explosive activity at 6:30 am on Tuesday, April 13.

These continued until another episode of explosive activity started at 8:30 am on Wednesday morning, April 14.

“This generated continuous seismic tremor which lasted for four to five hours. After the tremor had died down, small, long-period earthquakes were again recorded, again slowly growing in numbers,” the DDM stated.

It further said the explosions pulsed for more than 40 minutes and produced pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) which, appear to have gone down valleys that drain towards the Rabacca River on the east coast of St Vincent.

PDCs are hot (200°C-700°C), ground-hugging flows of ash and debris.

“The volcano continues to erupt explosively and has now begun to generate pyroclastic density currents. Its current pattern of explosions appears to be episodic (stop-and-go). Over the past 24 hours, the time between each explosion has increased. Explosions and accompanying ash-fall, of similar or larger magnitude, are likely to continue to occur over the next few days,” the DDM stated.


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