| Mount Redoubt volcanic eruptions, March-April 2009 - :6989 | National Weather Service (NWS)
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Mount Redoubt volcanic eruptions, March-April 2009
  • Published Date:
    2010
Filetype[PDF-1.05 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Weather Service,
  • Description:
    "On March 22, 2009, Mount Redoubt volcano, 106 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, began a series of eruptions after persisting in Orange or "Watch" status since late January 2009. Plume heights were observed at or above 60,000 feet during two of the six significant eruptions. Ashfall occurred over south central Alaska, including in Anchorage, with amounts ranging from a trace to one-half inch in depth. The Redoubt eruptions also disrupted air traffic in the region. Hundreds of commercial flights were cancelled and cargo companies were significantly impacted. This resulted in employees being placed on unpaid leave during periods when airport operations were shut down. Anchorage is Alaska's major population center; its airport serves as a critical strategic transportation hub as the third busiest cargo airport in the world. The impacts of the unrest at Mount Redoubt volcano continued through spring and into the summer. The threat of continuing eruptions and lahars (volcanic mud flows composed of water, ash, mud, and debris) necessitated the removal of millions of gallons of oil from Chevron's nearby Drift River Terminal. Residents, emergency management, and health officials remained on alert until Mount Redoubt volcano was downgraded to Yellow or "Advisory" status on June 30, 2009, and finally to Green or "Normal" status on September 29, 2009. NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) plays a central role in providing meteorological observations and analysis in addition to forecast and advisory information for volcanic ash analogous to that which is provided for most other hazards affecting the atmosphere. Volcanic ash, however, presents a unique set of challenges for NWS operations. For instance, another agency (the Department of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS) has the lead in monitoring and warning of volcanic eruptions. The eruptions often occur with very little advanced warning, requiring very close interagency coordination as well as rapid, cohesive delivery of information to decision-makers in emergency management and air traffic. The 2009 Mount Redoubt eruptions provided an opportune case for the NWS to examine the effectiveness of its operational products and procedures with respect to volcanic ash, and to identify lessons and best practices that may have a broader application within other NWS service areas. A multi-disciplinary team was chartered to perform this review and tasked to focus particularly on the usefulness of NWS products and services in the context of decision support for officials in emergency management and air transportation. This report and associated recommendations are aimed at improving NWS operations and services, as well as providing useful information to our partners and users of our volcanic ash-related information and services"--Preface.

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