Alaskan volcano erupts; ash not likely over Colorado

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MOUNT PAVLOF, Alaska -- Alaska's Pavlof Volcano erupted suddenly over the weekend, and continued to rumble and fling ash into the sky on Monday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

The ash plume is now 37,000 feet high and trails some 400 miles to the northeast over the Alaskan interior, the observatory said. Aviation alerts were up in the region.

Mariners, pilots and residents in nearby Cold Bay saw lava flowing from the top of the volcano throughout the night, the observatory said.

The volcano began erupting suddenly on Sunday, the observatory said. It's the first eruption of the volcano since 2014.

Projection of ash, pollution, particulates, etc. (aerosols).

Projection of ash, pollution and particulates. (Photo: aerosols).

Pavlof, which is about seven miles in diameter and located 592 miles southeast of Anchorage, is described by the center as "one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc." In the past, it has sent ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet, according to the observatory.

The Pinpoint Weather team looked into where the ash and pollutants (aerosols) plume was headed. Based on Sunday evening's computer projections, most of the ash will stay around Alaska and Western Canada.

The weather pattern would need to contain a strong storm system from that area to trek toward Colorado. At this time, the storm track doesn't align to bring that ash to Colorado within the next five days.

That might change beyond five days depending on the length and strength of the eruption.

If a lot of ash stays airborne, there might be a chance for the Lower 48, including Colorado, to catch some of the pollution. However, that appears to be unlikely at this time.

It might seem hard to imagine pollution from Alaska can reach Colorado. Yet last year's historic fire season in Alaska and Canada brought days' worth of poor air quality to the Front Range.