Restive Bulusan Volcano in Bicol ejected ash anew shortly before midnight Monday, sending ash to at least four villages in nearby Irosin town in Sorsogon.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum Jr said the ash explosion occurred at 12:47 p.m., and the ash fall at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday.
“Yung pagbagsak ng abo ay sa ibang barangay ng Irosin, sa Bolos, Gulang-Gulang, Tinampo at Monbon,” Solidum said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
(Ash fell on some villages in Irosin such as Bolos, Gulang-Gulang, Tinampo and Monbon.)
He said the explosion lasted four minutes and 30 seconds, but admitted they could not immediately determine how high the ash column was because it was dark.
Solidum said it was one of the more powerful explosions from Bulusan since it ejected ash last November 9.
Phivolcs had raised the alert level at Bulusan to “1” after it first erupted and spewed ash last November 6.
A separate report on dzBB radio early Tuesday said residents around the volcano heard a sound like thunder and felt the ground shake before ash fell.
Residents in the affected villages left their homes and gathered at a pickup point where they would be brought to evacuation centers.
Solidum, however, said that while a major eruption is possible, there is no sign of it at this time.
“We have not seen magma come up so we have yet to see signs of a major or dangerous eruption,” he said in Filipino.
He also said there is no basis to expand the four-kilometer permanent danger zone, at least for now.
Phivolcs resident volcanolgist Ed Laguerta said they are keeping watch for possible lahar flows.
On the other hand, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said rains still threaten the area near Bulusan.
“Maulan pa rin lalo sa eastern part ng bansa, kabilang ang Sorsogon kung saan naroon ang Bulusan (Today will be rainy in the eastern part of the country. This includes Sorsogon where Bulusan is located),” PAGASA forecaster Elvie Enriquez said in an interview on dzBB radio.
PAGASA’s 5 a.m. bulletin for Tuesday said a low-pressure area 130 km east of Catanduanes embedded along the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) threatens Central and Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
It added a cold front is affecting extreme northern Luzon.
“The whole country will experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms becoming cloudy skies with widespread rains over Eastern Luzon which may trigger flashfloods and landslides,” it said.
Meanwhile, Solidum reiterated his advice to residents to take precautions against ash fall, especially the elderly, children, and pregnant women. — LBG, GMANews.TV