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Ash plume disruptions now hit Adelaide -

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Ash plume disruptions now hit Adelaide

David Mark reported this story on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 08:00:00

TONY EASTLEY: The plume of volcanic ash that's disrupted flights over the past two days has moved
away from Victoria to South Australia, forcing Qantas to now cancel all flights in and out of
Adelaide.

Its flights to Tasmania and New Zealand have remain closed.

But Qantas says it will review all today's flights at 10 o'clock this morning, Eastern Time.

While Qantas flights to Tasmania are off the cards, its competitor Virgin Blue plans to operate all
flights normally in and out of all Australian ports. We'll hear from Qantas shortly on why it's
made the decision it has.

Meanwhile, Graham Weston, a volcanic ash forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology's Volcano Ash
Advisory Centre has told David Mark the plume is moving slowly and gradually breaking up.

GRAHAM WESTON: Right now with the plume we have it in the bight and also off to the west of
southern West Australia. It's in the Indian Ocean and in the bight, it's moved away from Melbourne
and it's gone closer to Adelaide.

DAVID MARK: And as a result Qantas cancelled flights to and from Adelaide last night?

GRAHAM WESTON: Yes I believe that is correct.

DAVID MARK: Is the plume still moving and where to from here?

GRAHAM WESTON: The plume is moving. We have two sections of the plume. There is a section that's
further south that's close to Antarctica and that is moving across our airspace staying south of
Australia - that is moving easterly towards, you know, the south island of New Zealand.

The other asset we have which is lingering around us is moving over Adelaide. It's staying away
from Perth, that's a nice thing. What ash you might see in the Indian Ocean is actually ducking
down with the cold front out there and that's hopefully going to take care of some of that ash,
wash it out and also steer it south of the continent.

DAVID MARK: There was talk yesterday of another plume that was due to arrive. What's the story
there?

GRAHAM WESTON: You may be aware there is still ash coming out of the volcano but it's not as high
as the initial plumes, so there is a continuous stream of ash coming across but it's getting broken
up into smaller pieces as it encounters different weather systems along the way.

DAVID MARK: Graham Weston, what's happening meteorologically here? How unusual is it for a big
plume of ash to make its way from a volcano in South America across to Australia?

GRAHAM WESTON: Well this isn't the first time it's happened. You may recall back in 1991 a volcano
went off in South America and the ash did come visit Australia. It actually circumnavigated twice
but then again, it's been 20 years so it's not too common but it's not unprecedented.

DAVID MARK: Do you think there'll be more disruptions to flights today?

GRAHAM WESTON: It's a tough call because it's hard to tell what that next plume, what that's going
to do because these weather phenomena that they encounter - the fronts, the colds, the highs, as it
comes across, breaks it up and that's why, even though there's ash might be emitted still, we can't
say that the conditions are going to maintain the way they have been this week.

TONY EASTLEY: Graham Weston from the Bureau of Meteorology speaking to David Mark.