Ashfall may severely disrupt transportation systems over extremely large areas for hours to days, including roads and cars, airports and aircraft, railways and marine craft.

  • Aviation: Ash can cause severe impacts to aircraft, and the presence of ash can result in the temporary shutdown of airports and flights.
  • Roads, Vehicles, and Railways: Ashfalls of 1 mm (1/32 in) or more can seriously reduce visibility on highways and railways, make roads and tracks slippery for cars and trains, strand travellers and damage vehicles.
  • Marine Transportation: Ash can clog air filters and water intakes, and reduce visibility for marine craft affecting operations.

Returning ground and aviation transportation systems to normal service following an ashfall requires the removal and disposal of ash and the cleaning of vehicles, aircraft, and facilities. Cleanup operations will be most efficient when a disposal site for the ash is identified before ash begins to fall and residents, businesses, and utilities coordinate their activities.

See Also:
Remobilisation & Coping With Long-Term Ash
Case Studies > Mt St Helens 1980 > Infrastructure