Indonesia's volcanic Mt. Sinabung erupts, coats four-mile area with ash

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM
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Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Indonesia's volcanic Mount Sinabung erupted on Monday, sending ash and smoke about 16,000 feet into the air.

No injuries were reported, although nearby villages were coated in ash and officials hurried to dispense face masks to residents. Tourists and residents were asked to stay at least 4.3 miles from the volcano, and those with respiratory issues were advised to remain indoors.

Mount Sinabung, on the island of Sumatra, erupted in 2010 for the first time in 400 years and has been regarded since as an active volcano. It erupted again in 2013. An eruption the following year killed 16 people, and another in 2016 killed seven.

Monday's eruption lasted for nearly five minutes.

Rain is expected in the area on Tuesday and Wednesday, which can combine with ash to make slippery travel conditions and increase the possibility of roof collapses and the volcanic version of mudslides, reported on Monday. Wet ash also is capable of conducting electricity, which can lead to power failures.

The ash cloud could impact airplane flights around northern Sumatra, to southern Thailand until Tuesday, when the cloud is expected to dissipate. The Australia-based Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center set its aviation alert level to red after the eruption, warning pilots to avoid the area.

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