DHS&EM 13 February 2009 Situation Report 09-044Postmark
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From:Friday, February 13, 2009 1:34 PM -0900
Subject:DHS&EM 13 February 2009 Situation Report 09-044 

SITUATION REPORT 09-044 (as of 11:00 AM, 13 February 2009)

Homeland Security Advisory System – National Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Homeland Security Advisory System – Alaska Level:  Yellow-Elevated
State Emergency Coordination Center Preparedness Level 1
Maritime Security (MARSEC) Level – Level I – Low.
Military installations in Alaska are at FPCON A.
State of Alaska Cyber Security Alert Level: Guarded
World Health Organization Pandemic Phase - Phase 3: No or very limited human-to-human transmission (An Influenza Pandemic situation report, which contains an explanation of the WHO Pandemic Phases, is attached to this situation report and updated every Tuesday)

State of Alaska Situation
(Updates to this section from previous Situation Report are in Italics.)

Alaska Volcano
DHS&EM along with Alaska Volcano Observatory and the National Weather Service staff are closely monitoring Redoubt Volcano.  In the event of a significant eruption or significant change in Redoubt’s status, DHS&EM will initiate appropriate notices and a follow-on teleconference in accordance with the Alaska Interagency Operating Plan for Volcanic Ash Episodes.

Alaska Volcano Observatory

Redoubt Volcano
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
The following is AVO Information Statement for Redoubt Volcano, Friday, February 13, 2009 10:12 AM AKST

On the basis of current activity, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) continues to expect that the most likely outcome of current Redoubt activity is an eruption, similar or smaller in scale to the 1989-1990 eruption. It is not currently possible to determine exactly when such an eruption might occur. Based on observations of past eruptions of Redoubt, ongoing analysis of the current activity, and studies of similar volcanoes worldwide, the current period of elevated unrest could persist for some time, possibly many months. However, as long as substantial volcanic-gas emission, prolonged periods of tremor, and intermittent discrete, shallow earthquakes occur, notable escalation of activity immediately prior to an eruption might only be on the order of hours or less.

The alert level remains at ORANGE/Watch, and for the time being AVO is staffed 24/7. If seismicity or other monitoring data suggest that Redoubt may be rapidly escalating to an eruption, AVO will send out a notification.

Monitoring Summary

Unrest at Redoubt Volcano continues; no eruption has yet occurred.

Redoubt Volcano has been at elevated alert levels for the past three months. AVO raised the aviation color code to YELLOW and the alert level to ADVISORY on 5 November 2008 in response to elevated gas emissions and visual evidence of melting of ice near the volcano’s summit crater. AVO raised Redoubt’s aviation and alert levels to ORANGE/WATCH on 25 January 2009 in response to a sharp increase in seismicity detected beneath the volcano. Since 25 January 2009, AVO also has detected corresponding increases both in the rate of glacial melting and of magmatic gas emissions at the volcano’s summit.

The Observatory facility in Anchorage currently is staffed 24 hours a day. AVO staff continues to conduct visual surveillance of the volcano via the web cam and overflights, airborne measurements of gas output, seismic analysis, and examination of satellite and weather-radar data.

In response to this elevated unrest, AVO has: conducted ten overflights of the volcano to make visual observations and gas measurements; installed a web camera, two more seismic stations, and a GPS sensor close to the volcano; redirected a webcam on a platform in the Cook Inlet to view Redoubt; assisted in the installation of lightning-detection equipment on the Kenai Peninsula, and improved the telemetry system that transmits data to the Observatory. Additional upgrades of the Redoubt monitoring system, water sampling, and overflights for observation and gas measurements are planned over the next several weeks as weather permits.

Analysis of Current Unrest

Analysis of monitoring data suggests that the current episode of unrest results from the intrusion of new magma beneath the volcano. The main evidence for the presence of this magma is: (1) measurement of substantial amounts of magmatic gas (thousands of tons per day of carbon dioxide) being emitted from the volcano’s summit area; (2) visual observations of high heat flux such as intermittent steam plumes, melting of the upper Drift Glacier (as much as 5-6 million cubic meters through February 10), and increased water discharge from the lower Drift Glacier, (3) elevated seismicity since 23 January 2009, including continuous shallow tremor that is consistent with the movement of fluids (including heated ground water) and gases within the volcano, and (4) deep earthquakes in December 2008 and January 2009 that may have marked magma movement.

We estimate that the new magma is beneath Redoubt at depths greater than about 5 km (about 3 miles), although a small amount of the magma may have risen to shallower depths in late January when seismicity, degassing, and melting intensified. There is no evidence to suggest that a large volume of magma is present at shallow depths (within 2 km, or about a mile, of the surface).

Comparison to Previous Periods of Volcanic Activity at Redoubt

There are few past examples of Redoubt eruptions that were well-monitored or well-observed. In 1965-1968, incomplete accounts indicate that elevated levels of unrest occurred for months before the onset of eruptive activity. In 1933, activity of Redoubt may have consisted only of a temporary increase in gas and heat output and no eruption.

The 1989-90 eruption is the only one that was seismically monitored, and seismic stations were emplaced mere months prior to the start of the eruption. Prior to the first explosive events in 1989, precursory seismicity ramped up quickly over a period of 23 hours. The eruption lasted from December 1989 until June 1990, and was characterized by explosive events that produced ash clouds reaching as high as 40,000 ft above sea level, separated by periods when lava domes grew in the summit crater. During the 1989-90 eruption, ash fall was greatest on the Kenai Peninsula, reaching a few (3-5) millimeters (0.1-0.2 inches) on one occasion, with trace amounts deposited in Anchorage and other communities in south-central Alaska. Ash clouds from the 1989-90 eruption also disrupted air traffic operations in and out of the Anchorage area and Kenai. Mudflows, formed as hot erupted material swiftly melted large volumes of snow and ice mantling the volcano, traveled down the Drift River and reached Cook Inlet, partially flooding the Drift River Oil Terminal facility.

Heavily ice-mantled Redoubt Volcano is located on the western side of Cook Inlet, 170 km (106 mi) southwest of Anchorage and 82 km (51 mi) west of Kenai, within Lake Clark National Park. Redoubt is a stratovolcano which rises to 10,197 feet above sea level. Recent eruptions occurred in 1902, 1966-68, and 1989-90.

Please see http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/index.php for more information about aviation color codes and volcano alert levels.

More information about Redoubt Volcano can be found at http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Redoubt.php

Winter Storm Warnings
The National Weather Services in Fairbanks continues the winter storm warnings which are affecting the following forecast zones:
Northern Slopes of the Brooks Range from the Colville River Westward, winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 am Saturday.
Chukchi Sea Coast, winter storm warning remains in effect until 3 am Saturday.
Baldwin Peninsula and Selawik Valley, winter storm warning remains in effect until 9 pm this evening
More information about Weather Warnings can be found at http: http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

Useful link:
Airport Flight Status (Anchorage) http://aia-mufids.dot.state.ak.us/
Air Quality Advisories & Alerts: http://www.dec.state.ak.us/air/am/aq_sr.htm
Oil and Hazardous Substance Releases:  Photographs and spill information "Quick Links: Active Spill Responses":  http://www.state.ak.us/dec/spar/perp/index.htm 
Road Information:  can be found at http://511.Alaska.gov/ or call 511.
Volcano:  Current Volcano information: http://www.avo.alaska.edu
Aviation color codes and Volcano alert levels: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/color_codes.php
Weather: Current Public and Marine Hazards and Regional News http: http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 am, 17 February 2009. A significant change in the situation or the threat level will prompt an interim report. Please direct questions regarding this report to the SECC at 907-428-7100 or secc@ak-prepared.com.

How to reach the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Phone the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) by dialing (907) 428-7100 or 1-800-478-2337, 24 hours per day.  Information on emergency topics is available on the Division's web site at http://www.ak-prepared.com.  Homeland Security information may be found at http://www.ak-prepared.com/homelandsecurity/

How to reach the Division of Administration – State Cyber Security Program:  If you have questions you may contact Darrell Davis, State Computer Security Officer darrel.davis@Alaska.gov.

For further information:
Being prepared: Ready.gov
Countries:              U.S. State Department Background Notes.
Maps:           United Nations Cartographic Section
                University of Texas Library Map Section.