Iceland volcano update

The eruption at Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano continues. No glacial flooding has occurred yet; although it is still expected. According to the British Met Office, the ash cloud is unlikely to spread to Europe and the heavier ash particles mean it will not be as widespread as last year’s.

International aviation remains largely unaffected by the ash cloud; although there is some disruption within Iceland.

The air space over Keflavik International Airport was closed at 08.30 this morning and remains shut now. Cancellations were avoided by making as many flights as possible take to the skies early.

Hjordis Gudmundsdottir of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority told that she is not optimistic about the rest of today; but added that the situation will be re-assessed at midday; as the forecast can change.

According to the British forecast, the ash cloud is set to spread in northwards and will not head towards the European mainland. The ash particles are said to be much heavier than from last year’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption; which will see them fall back to the ground quicker.

Iceland Express has decided to wait until midday before cancelling any of its flights today; and the company hopes to be able to fly again before tomorrow.

Icelandair has already decided to cancel its afternoon and evening flights and is making alternative plans for its passengers. This includes booking transatlantic travellers with other airlines. Those whose departure or destination is Iceland itself will be booked into hotels. Passengers with both airlines are being asked to follow their flight statuses closely as changes can happen quickly.

All domestic flights with Air Iceland have been cancelled today. Most roads are open and unaffected; although Route 1 is closed at the nearest point to the volcano, south of the Vatnajokull glacier. People in the areas affected by ash are being asked to stay indoors and use dust masks if they go outside.

Farmers’ animals are still outside; but they could start bringing them in again later today if necessary.

Click here to see a video of the eruption taken by Egill Adalsteinsson from television station Stod 2, who was on board the scientific flight around the volcano yesterday evening.

(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs. Taken at Eyjafjallajokull in spring 2010)

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