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Ash cloud fans out thousands of kilometres towards Australia, turning skies rusty red at sunset

It’s sunset over the south west Pacific and 26 hours since the massive eruption in Tonga, nations thousands of kilometres to the west now have a volcanic ash cloud over them.

In particular Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia / Nouvelle Caledonia are affected. The initial big eruption started off circular around the epicentre, but was soon caught up in an easterly flow that pushed it westwards towards Fiji. Today locally in Tonga westerlies have kicked in (the opposite to yesterday) and so any further eruptions today have been drifting eastwards out to open waters of the South Pacific. says this main ash cloud is drifting quite quickly westwards at high altitude and may drift over Queensland overnight or Monday. Like a puff of smoke the further it travels the more it dissipates.

For now, New Zealand has limited risk for ash in our skies, although ex-tropical Cyclone Cody may drag some with it east of the North Island.


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