QCOSTARICA – The Turrialba volcano is now in its third day of constantly spewing ash, gas and rock. The colossus made an “important” eruption Friday morning, the third since 2014 when it began its current cycle of activity. The Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) – national emergency commission – reports nothing has changed since and passive emissions of ash continues.
On Friday, the eruptions reached 3,000 metres (3 kilometres or 1.9 miles) above the crater. The CNE reports the current emissions reaching heights of 1.000 metres (1 kilometre), spreading ash in many areas of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).
On Saturday, though the San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International airport (SJO) remained in operation, many airlines, in particular American and Canadian airlines, cancelled flights to Costa Rica. Saturday night, the San Jose airport was “solo”, a Spanish term for nobody there.
The thickness of ash in some places has been reported up to four centimetres (1.5 inches).
According to the CNE, the fine ash dust has even reached the central Pacific, according to reports they have received.
Late Saturday afternoon, the weather conditions over the Central Valley remained very cloudy. It was unclear (no pun intended) if the clouds were normal clouds or ash clouds. Areas like Coronado, one of the higher points in San Jose’s northeast, was the most affected.
According to reports by scientists at the CNE, the activity is likely to continue.
Orlando Luna, a park ranger with seven years at the Turrialba National Park, told La Nacion that the recent eruptions have changed compared to others and is now afraid to be in the Central Valley.
“You can see blocks that look like coal pieces spewing out and falling out of the mountain, the gas eruptions reached some 200 metres to the ranger station,” said Luna. Since Friday, park rangers have stopped climbing to what was the old ranger guard-house of the volcano.
CNE authorities are recommend caution and the population be alert to information issued by official bodies such as the CNE or other scientific-technical agencies that oversee the colossus and not pay attention to information from unscrupulous individuals looking to create panic.
Being in Piedades de Santa Ana, west of San Jose, I am still cleaning up ash from the cars and walks. This morning I can see the wind blowing out ash collected on my roof. On my trip to Pavas Saturday morning, I could feel in my eyes and throat the severity of the ash fall: very strong compared to Santa Ana, which is in lower ground. My first thoughts is I have to buy a mask. In fact, several of the security guards at Plaza Rohrmoser were wearing them. I can only imagine what people are going through in places like Coronado.
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