The Sulawesi volcano Soputan continues to erupt on Thursday, October 4, though now posing a moderate threat to aviation. Indonesian scientists downgraded the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) to orange from red at 23:58 (local time) on Wednesday, October 3. A more recent VONA alert issued at 06:50 noted that a volcanic ash cloud around 3300 m (10,500 ft) high was moving to the west-northwest toward the Celebes Sea. Evacuation notices remain for areas within a 4 km radius of the summit and 6.5 km to the west and southwest due to the threat of lava flows and descending ash clouds. Officials advise communities nearby to wear face masks to prevent respiratory injury. Ongoing ash and lava emissions are likely in the coming hours and days and effects of the ash plume may change with shifting winds.
Soputan (North Sulawesi) erupted at 08:47 on Wednesday. Soputan is one of the most active volcanoes on Sulawesi. The eruption was likely not related to the September 28 earthquake in Central Sulawesi.
Individuals in or traveling near northern Sulawesi are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate further eruptions, ash emissions, and possible transportation disruptions. Individuals in the immediate vicinity of Soputan are advised to take precautions to avoid ash inhalation, be cautious near river valleys for risk of debris and lava flows, and adhere to all instructions (e.g. evacuation notices) issued by local authorities.
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