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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Aviation alert issued at Mt Ruapehu NZ

as first snow of season falls

MSN NZ Travel Bite Staff
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Aviation alert issued at Mt Ruapehu as first dump of season falls (image Stefan Karpiniec )

Aviation authorities have issued alerts to planes flying over Mt Ruapehu due to the volcano's crater lake sustaining a prolonged hot phase.
In addition to the high water temperature, other signs of volcanic unrest have been recorded by vulcanologists including changes in volcanic gas output, seismic activity and crater lake water chemistry.
However, despite the changes in volcanic activity, there were no indications an eruption was on its way, GNS Science volcano surveillance co-ordinator Brad Scott told the New Zealand Herald.
He said the volcanic alert level remained at level one, which meant there were signs of volcanic unrest.
But it is an active volcano and future eruptions may occur with little or no warning.
Meanwhile skiers have rejoiced with the first big dump of the season on Mt Ruapehu.
About 10-15cm of snow fell yesterday on the upper slopes of the Whakapapa field.
MetService spokesman Andy Downs said temperatures had fallen across New Zealand over the past few days as cold air from the south west moved up the country.
"It will stay fairly cold through the next few days. We expect it to continue on through until Friday, when things steady down and start to recover.
"And by the weekend it looks like we're back into a ridge of high pressure, with temperatures starting to recover again."
Turoa Rd was closed because of snow.
The mountain's Turoa ski field was not due to open until June 25, but Smith said he hoped the snowfall was a sign of a good season in store.

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