UPDATE: Indonesia, Mount Sinabung

21 Feb 2018

Flight delays and cancellations have been reported at Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) Feb. 20 as nearby Mount Sinabung continues to erupt. The volcano, located in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, became active early Feb. 19. The eruption has sent a plume of thick ash over 7 km (4.4 miles) into the air and spewed searing gas over 4 km (2.5 miles) down its slopes. There are no reported casualties at this time. Mount Sinabung has been on the highest alert status since June 2015, with a 7-km (4.3-mile) exclusion zone surrounding the volcano. 

Indonesia's Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) has issued a red warning, its highest level, for flight disruptions. Increased volcanic outflows or a shift in wind direction could lead to additional flight delays and/or cancellations at nearby airports. Regional air transport delays are also possible if planes are forced to detour around the ash cloud. Authorities have ordered evacuations of nearby communities and imposed ground travel restrictions in affected areas, as ash has reduced visibility and made streets hazardous. Further localized traffic disruptions are likely. 

Background and Analysis 
Mount Sinabung, which is located approximately 55 km (35 miles) southwest of Medan, has erupted sporadically since 2010 following almost 400 years of dormancy. The eruptions have forced the evacuation of nearby villages and have posed periodic disruptions to air travel. The volcano most recently erupted in December 2017 and late January 2018. 

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