Thursday, January 27, 2011

Volcano Alert: Smoke & ash of Shinmoedake volcano block visibility, disrupt transport in Japan

Smoke and ash continued to spew from the Shinmoedake volcano in southern Japan on Thursday as local officials raised the alert level and banned residents from going within a two kilometre (1.2 miles) radius of the mountain in the Kogoshima Prefecture. There was a small eruption from Shinmoedake on Wednesday with the plume of smoke reaching as high as 1500 metres (4920 feet) at one point, which distributed volcanic ash across surrounding villages. The persistent ash has blocked visibility in the surrounding area and has made the roads slippery and treacherous for motorists, according to local officials. Train services in the area were suspended and flights to the area were cancelled on Thursday. So far no damage or injuries have been reported.

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