The volcano “continues to show periods of explosive activity,” said Dr. Erouscilla Joseph, Director of the Seismic Research Center (UWI-SRC) at the University of the West Indies.
Joseph reported on the third explosion in an audio update released on Friday evening. It didn’t reveal any additional details about the third explosion, but it appears that it was smaller than the previous two. The center works with local authorities to monitor activity on the volcano.
On Saturday morning, according to a Twitter post by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the islanders woke up to “extremely strong ash and strong smells of sulfur that have now penetrated the capital.”
“Everyone be careful. We are covered in ash and strong sulfur smells permeate the air. For people with breathing problems, we ask that you take the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy,” said NEMO.
Authorities said it was likely that explosive eruptions could continue “for days and possibly weeks” after the initial outbreak on Friday, releasing a plume of ash that stretched 6,096 meters in the sky.
The Friday morning eruption was the first since April 1979 through the La Soufrière volcano, according to NEMO. “The volcano La Soufriere erupted on the second Friday in April (Friday, April 13th) in 1979. Four days before its anniversary it erupted again on the second Friday in April (9) in the year 2021,” the organization said on Twitter.
La Soufrière is located on the largest island in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chain.
The second explosion occurred around 2:45 p.m. on Friday and was smaller than the first, according to NEMO.
“Another explosion was observed. The vertical column of ash is estimated to be 4 km into the atmosphere. We continue to monitor and update it,” said the UWI-SRC on its official Facebook page.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Thursday declared a disaster alert triggered by a change in the volcano’s eruption activity. The island has been put on high alert, meaning an outbreak “is now imminent,” NEMO said.
Evacuation orders have been issued in about a dozen districts of St. Vincent, affecting approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people, a UWI-SRC spokesman told CNN.
Kenton Chance, a freelance journalist, told CNN Friday that he was five miles from the volcano in the town of Rosehall, St. Vincent. The ashes were still falling, but in diminishing quantities, he said.
“Usually you have a very impressive view of the volcano,” he said. “But you can’t see it because of the amount of ash in the air.”
CNN’s Paul Murphy contributed to this report.