Government Information Service

Volcano Alert: Pyroclastic Flows and Major Ashfalls
Sunday, May 12, 1996

Government Information Service
Chief Minister's Office Fax:
P.O.Box 292
Plymouth, Montserrat
West Indies
Tel: (809) 491-2702/2711 Fax: -7229 Voice: -7227

For Immediate Release

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory reports major ashclouds and ashfall associated with three pyroclastic flows in the Tar River area of east Montserrat.

At least one flow is reported to have entered the sea. There are no reports as to the extent of damage to vegetation or collateral in close proximity to the volcano.

The major ashfalls also affected areas within the designated safe zone including Cork Hill, Weekes', Olveston and Barzey's in the island's north.

Scientists have advised that the major ashfalls of this morning May 12, 1996 do not necessarily indicate a resolution of the situation at the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Prevailing ash-clouds continue to prevent closer reconnaissance of areas within the designated unsafe zone. Scientists continue real time monitoring of the Soufriere Hills Volcano from the observatory in Olveston. Seismic signals from around the volcano are relatively quiet at the moment. Further ashfalls are possible.

Motorists are cautioned to drive with due care and attention on slippery ash-covered roads.

Ashfalls are not new to the ongoing activity on Montserrat. The island's capital, Plymouth and it's environs, areas south and east of a designated safe zone north of the capital were relocated for the third time on April 3, 1996. This followed a spate of intense ashfall and pyroclastic flow within the Tar River area of the East.

It is advised that visits to the evacuated zone continue to be kept to an absolute minimum. The Tar River, Long Ground and White's areas are extremely dangerous and should not be entered under any circumstances.

Government Information Service