MANILA — Ash from Bicol Region’s restive Mayon Volcano will likely continue falling on areas west of this mountain during the week, further affecting communities there. The wind carries and disperses Mayon’s ash in the direction where the current of air is heading, said science research specialist Winchelle Sevilla of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

“Our monitoring shows wind is carrying the ash westwards over longer distances,” he noted. Volcanic ash may cause health problems when ingested and can damage areas where these abrasive and mildly corrosive particles fall, warned experts.

Latest available outlook from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) suggests Mayon ash’s westward travel may persist this week. PAGASA’s outlook indicates the easterlies, or winds blowing from east to west, may prevail until around Friday (Jan. 26) in Bicol, Samar, Caraga, and Northern Mindanao. “Such winds are carrying Mayon’s ash westwards,” said PAGASA forecaster Rene Paciente. Paciente said such westerly flow would continue until the northeast monsoon, locally called “amihan” wind, began briefly prevailing in Bicol this Friday. “Amihan” winds would carry Mayon’s ash southwestwards, he said.

Easterly winds may prevail again in Bicol this weekend, he continued. In its 8 a.m. bulletin released Tuesday (Jan. 23), Phivolcs said volcanic ash from Mayon Volcano fell on Albay province’s Guinobatan, Camalig, Oas, and Polangui municipalities, west of Mayon. Phivolcs noted the ash even reached Iriga City in Camarines Sur province. “People must prepare accordingly, since Mayon is still restive and can further spew ash and other volcanic materials anytime,” Phivolcs’ Sevilla reiterated.

He urged people to monitor Phivolcs’ advisories for Mayon, so they could keep abreast of developments there and prepare accordingly. As a precaution, Phivolcs extended coverage of Mayon Volcano’s danger zone. The danger zone now covers a 9.0-km radius measured from Mayon’s summit vent, said Phivolcs science research specialist Ronald Pigtain. “People in the danger zone must evacuate to safer ground as soon as possible,” Pigtain said. (PNA)