News Photos: Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupts, spews towering ash cloudkristina.pydynowski • Mount Sinabung erupted on Monday morning, sending an ash cloud more than 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) towering into the atmosphere. No fatalities or injuries have been reported.The volcano erupted at 8:53 a.m. Monday WIB (8:53 p.m. Sunday EST) on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency. The eruption lasted for 291 seconds.Sinaburg Feb 19Related SearchesMount SinabungMount Sinabung Volcano EruptsSinabung EruptionMount Sinabung spews volcanic ash as it erupts in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Sugeng Nuryono)The volcanic ash fell on surrounding areas, turning the morning sky dark with visibility down to 5 meters (16 feet).Residents and visitors are being encouraged to avoid the area immediately surrounding the volcano, including the 3-km (10,000-foot) radius from the peak.The agency reports that an unsecured dam along the Laborus River has developed. Residents downstream are urged to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.Ash Feb 19Motorists ride on a road covered in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Gurukinayan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Endro Rusharyanto)Some residents, especially the elderly, have sought shelter away from the volcano while crews begin the task of cleaning up the volcanic ash.”Showers and thunderstorms will be around daily this week, mainly during the afternoon and evening hours,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.The wet weather is expected to increase in coverage Tuesday into Wednesday.Rain can combine with the ash to create extremely slippery travel and increase the risk for roof collapses.Wet ash also conducts electricity, which may cause high-voltage circuits and transformers to short out and fail.More lives and property will be threatened if enough rain pours down and triggers lahars, the volcanic version of a mudslide, down the slopes of Mount Sinabung.The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre raised the alert level for aviation to red following the eruption, warning airplanes to avoid the area surrounding Mount Sinabung.The ash cloud is only expected to impact flights around northern Sumatra to the southern tip of Thailand into Tuesday. The advisory centre anticipates the cloud to gradually dissipate on Tuesday.Aside from ash cleanup operations around the volcano, the National Disaster Management Agency reports that daily activities resumed back to normal later on Monday.”People are accustomed to seeing the eruption of Mount Sinabung.”After being dormant for four centuries, Mount Sinabung came to life in 2010 and killed two people, according to the Associated Press. Two other deadly eruptions followed in 2014 and 2016.
News Former cyclone Gita hits New Zealand; emergency declared in southern cityBy Charlotte Greenfield • By Charlotte Greenfield WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s national carrier on Tuesday canceled all flights in and out of the capital, Wellington, and the southern city of Christchurch declared a state of emergency as the remnants of tropical cyclone Gita pummelled the country.Even before the storm hit in full force, heavy rains in the center of New Zealand brought floods in Christchurch, prompting a warning from Mayor Lianne Dalziel.”The full impact of the storm will be felt overnight and tomorrow morning,” she said, urging residents of low-lying areas to evacuate. „We are expecting homes to be flooded.”Air New Zealand said all flights to the capital would be grounded from 2.45 p.m. (0145 GMT) as weather authorities issued warnings of severe weather and heavy rain and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph).Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said troops had fanned out to areas likely to be the hardest hit and the national Civil Defence office in Wellington was on standby to help.”My message still to people is please look out for your local warnings and expect disruption to travel and please just be careful,” she told reporters at parliament.Cyclone Gita hit the Pacific island nations of Fiji and Tonga last week, packing winds up to 275 kph (171 mph). Fiji escaped major damage but Tonga suffered widespread destruction and flooding. Earlier, the storm had caused extensive damage in Samoa and American Samoa.The cyclone had since been downgraded to a storm, but forecasters said it was still likely to wreak havoc on Tuesday evening as it traversed the center of New Zealand.Parts of the country are still reeling from a huge storm that prompted authorities to declare states of emergency at the beginning of February.More than 40 schools and preschools shut in the upper South Island, while mayors urged people to stay home.Transport authorities shut a stretch of highway along the east coast of the South Island and the Department of Conservation was closing seaside hiking tracks and campsites along the West Coast and ushering tourists away from low-lying areas, media said.(Reporting by Charlotte GreenfieldEditing by Clarence Fernandez)