Bali airport reopens, evacuations still in place as Mount Agung spews ash across popular tourist destination

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, AccuWeather meteorologist
November 29, 2017, 10:05:54 AM EST


The international airport in Bali opened on Wednesday after being closed on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Airport spokesman Ari Ahsanurrohim, said 440 flights were canceled on Tuesday, impacting about 59,500 travelers following similar cancellations on Monday.

"Volcanic ash reaching 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) in the air began drifting south and southeast of Mount Agung on Wednesday, leaving clean space above the airport for planes to land and take off," said Ahsannurohim.

The airport is southwest of the volcano, so a slight shift of the winds aloft from the north to northeast would send the ash cloud back over the international airport and cause additional delays or closures.

In this Nov. 27, 2017, file photo, Mount Agung volcano erupts in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)


Rain is causing additional dangers across the eruption zone as water and volcanic debris were seen flowing down the mountain, the AP reported. People are being urged to stay away from rivers.

Localized downpours will continue into Thursday morning, which will heighten the risk for debris flows and localized flooding.

A villager takes his cows to a field with Mount Agung volcano erupting in the background in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)


Drier air is expected to build over the island later this week, limiting the threat for rainfall.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency raised the volcano’s alert to level four, the highest possible, on Monday and expanded an exclusion zone to 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater.

While 100,000 people live within the evacuation zone, tens of thousands have refused to leave their homes and livestock.

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Agung’s last major eruption in 1963 claimed around 1,100 lives.

While travel disruption has been limited to Bali at this time, further large eruptions could result in air travel delays expanding across the region.

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