Press conference hosted by the Minister of Home Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams re: the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent – April 9, 2021. (PMO)

The Barbados Meteorological Service (MET Office) is closely monitoring developments surrounding the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines(SVG).

Acting Director of the MET Office, Sabu Best, explained that while there were no significant impacts on Barbados from the 8:41 a.m. explosion today, eruptions were still ongoing, and with that the possibility of a major one.

“It is the major eruptions at this point in time that are the greater concern in terms of ash fall for Barbados, because it is those major eruptions that are going to spill a lot of ash and debris way up in the atmosphere. We are talking 25,000 to 30,000 feet, which once it gets to that kind of elevation can easily traverse eastward towards Barbados because of the wind patterns,” he explained, during a press conference this afternoon.

Noting that the alert level remained at red, Mr. Best said the less aggressive eruptions would tend to affect St. Vincent and the Caribbean Sea area.

The Director explained that Barbados experienced a “very weak plume of ash and dust” around the mid-levels of atmosphere this morning ranging between 18,000 and 25,000 feet, which took around three to three-and-a-half hours to reach the island from St. Vincent.

He noted that it would have been difficult to see from the ground because of the extensive amount of dust haze still in the atmosphere and a canopy of cirrus which makes the sky look “whitish or milky”.

Mr. Best added that the dust haze was expected to continue throughout the weekend into Monday, with the skies become cloudier. However, he stated that rainfall levels should remain minimal over the next few days.

He assured the public that the MET Office was working closely with the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology and would continue to monitor the situation over the coming days as they conduct extensive work on their modelling and sharing of products.

This, he said, was also being done in collaboration with the Caribbean Meteorological Organization and colleagues on the ground in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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