Just five days after the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) had downgraded the status of Mount Redoubt to "advisory" status and lowering the color state to "yellow", the mountain responded by releasing a plume of steam and ash rising three miles high on Sunday March 15th, 2009. The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded by upgrading the volcano's aviation color code status to orange and its alert status to "watch". Anchorage Daily News story HERE, KTUU Channel 2 story HERE, Alaska Volcano Observatory statement HERE. Other pertinent links:
-- Alaska Volcano Observatory Redoubt Page
-- Latest NOAA Ash Trajectory Forecasts (if it erupts)
-- Mt Redoubt Webcam #1 (Hut)
-- Mt Redoubt Webcam #2 (CI)
-- Webicorder Graph Output
But although ashfall from the explosion could be seen on the upper south flank of the volcano, the National Weather Service had yet to detect any airborne ash that might create an aviation hazard. All forecast models indicate that any airborne ash would be carried anywhere from the southeast to the northwest during the next two days; Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley would be spared.
The Observatory is not classifying it as an actual eruption, since the ash didn't appear to be generated by new magma, and the discharge wasn't explosive enough to be described as a full eruption. Steam continues to emit from the volcano at this time.