What's it like during ashfall?

Conditions and what to expect

When ash begins to fall during daylight hours, the sky will turn increasingly hazy and "dusty" and sometimes a pale yellow color. Close to the volcano the falling ash may become so dense that daylight turns to murky gray or even an "intense blackness" such that "it is impossible to see your hand when held up close to the eye." Loud thunder and lightning and the strong smell of sulfur often occurs during an ashfall. Furthermore, rain may accompany the ash and turn the tiny particles into a slurry of slippery mud. Most people also describe an intense quietness, except for thunder that may accompany the ashfall, giving a "deadness" to the normal sounds of life.

Small explosion clouds and minor ashfall

Minor ashfall and associated darkness

Large explosions clouds and heavy ashfall

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