Volcanic ash cloud: Where is it now – May 19?

European air space was unaffected Wednesday by the volcanic ash cloud, although Finland and Norway are bracing for weekend disruptions as the cloud blows into the Norwegian Sea.

Ingolfur Juliusson/Reuters
Ash cloud is seen from a plane near the Eyjafjallajökull glacier Monday. European air space was unaffected Wednesday by the volcanic ash cloud.

European air travel was operating normally Wednesday as the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland steered clear of most European air space, although westerly winds blowing the ash cloud toward the Norwegian Sea could affect Scandinavian air travel later in the week.

But today all flights for the Norwegian Air Shuttle were on time.

“At the moment the ash cloud is affecting mainly parts of the Norwegian airspace,” Fred Konnemann, press officer for European flight monitor Eurocontrol, said in an email response to questions.

IN PICTURES: Iceland volcano

Finland's Meteorological Institute has forecast that ash may cause problems in the airspace over northern parts of Finland this coming weekend, Finish news agency Yle reported today.

Eyjafjallajökull volcano was erupting at a height of 23,000 ft (7 km) early Wednesday, but it calmed to a slightly lower height of 16,000 to 19,000 ft (5 to 6 km) by day’s end.

The plume is currently drifting east to northeastward away from Iceland, but residual and non-disruptive ash from an earlier phase of the eruption is still lingering over the North Sea, according to the Icelandic volcano blog run by the Meteorological Office (Britain's government weather service).

British airspace was entirely free of the ash cloud by Tuesday after weekend winds blew it over Ireland, Scotland, and England and disrupted thousands of flights. The ash cloud was thick enough to see what appeared to be a brown-ish film over southern England, says Met Office spokesman John Hammond.

“We’ll see much of the UK remaining free of ash,” Mr. Hammond said by telephone Wednesday. “But if we get winds from the northwest and the volcano is active, there is a risk of further areas of ash.”

Clear conditions over the UK are expected to last through to Saturday, Hammond says.

“It’s a very fluid situation," he adds.


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