Lahar damage at Sandy Bay, Saint Vincent. Image courtesy The UWI’s Seismic Research Unit (UWI-SRC).

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has lowered the volcanic alert level at La Soufrière to ORANGE, based on recommendations from The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC).

 At alert level ORANGE, the volcano may resume explosions with less than twenty-four hours of notice.

According to a release from The UWI, UWI-SRC/MVO Volcano-seismologist and current Scientific Team Lead, Roderick Stewart made the recommendation to the cabinet on Tuesday May 4th, during his update on the current activity at the volcano. 

Mr. Stewart indicated that the recommendation was being made given that there have been no explosions at the volcano since April 22nd, and the number of volcanic earthquakes recorded also has decreased significantly.

UWI-SRC noted that lahars (mudflows) continue to pose a dangerous threat to the river valleys surrounding the volcano, including Wallibou and Rabacca. Mudflows observed over the past several days have contained boulders up to 5m (15 feet) in diameter.

The UWI scientists also observed steaming flows, which they explained are likely due to contact with and incorporation of hot volcanic deposits. Lahars can cause damage to property and serious injury to persons in their path. 

UWI Seismic also advised that access to the RED volcanic hazard zone should be limited to government approved essential work only, as conditions remain hazardous and the potential for injury also remains high.

The statement from The UWI stated that the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and The UWI-SRC continue to be the authoritative sources of information on the eruption of La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent.  And for updates on activity at La Soufriere Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, follow The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic, and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/uwiseismic.