Home News Local news VOLCANIC ASH CAUSES FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS

VOLCANIC ASH CAUSES FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS

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July 30, 2001 – Ash, which left the U.S. Virgin Islands blanketed with a layer of crunchy gray dust Monday morning, has caused flight cancellations and delays at Virgin Islands airports. However, both airports, Cyril E. King on St. Thomas and Henry E. Rohlsen on St. Croix, as well as the San Juan Airport remain open.
Both American Airlines and U.S. Airways canceled flights Monday, according to an airport operations spokesperson. However, Air Sunshine and Cape Air are flying between St. Croix, St. Thomas and San Juan.
American Airlines spokesperson Minnette Velez said though some flights into San Juan may resume after 5 p.m., all scheduled flights Monday into St. Thomas and St. Croix had been canceled.
American Eagle was expected to make a decision about its flights early Monday afternoon.
"Turbo prop aircraft don't like to fly in volcanic dust," so those flights have been canceled or delayed, one airport source said.
The dust, originally thought to have been carried from Africa on the winds of a tropical wave that moved over the area this weekend, is now thought to be the result of volcanic activity at Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano.
An advisory from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's web site said cloud cover has prevented the detection of ash in satellite imagery, but "reports continue to be received indicating ash fall over Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands."
The same NOAA advisory, dated July 30, said the Montserrat volcano observatory "indicated that volcanic activity has fallen off considerably to levels seen in recent weeks." Visible imagery continued to show a faint plume extending from the summit to about 42 miles to the west of the volcano. The plume was seven miles wide and was expected to move to the west and northwest.
The National Weather Bureau in San Juan could not be reached Wednesday morning for comment.

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