I just got back from 2 weeks in Alaska visiting my daughter Tracy, her husband Rick and my grandson Gunther who is now 2years 4 months. I had a great time - spending a lot of time watching Gunther while they spent some time out together. Tracy still had to work some of the days (she works nights as a nurse in Anchorage) - and even then Rick got to spend some time on the snow machine. It was so great to really got to know that darling little man.
There was quite a bit of extra excitement. While I was there, Redoubt volcano, which is about 103 miles south west of Anchorage as the crow flies erupted - about 5 times the first day - March 23rd and a good 18 major times in total. We are in the Mat Su Valley - in the Palmer area and were not really affected too much. It was not a lava flow - but an ash and gas emission that sent plumes int o the air as high as 65,000 ft. In most cases - the winds drifted them away for m us - but on the Sunday/Monday before I left the did hit Anchorage and our area nd we got a light dusting. This caused havoc with the airport - causing it to shut down. Even when I left Thursday night, Alaska Air was canceling many in state flights - but my NWA flight did fly out on time. Rick collected a little baggie of ash for me from our front porch and we saw a lot of ash on the snow - especially in Palmer itself - which seemed to have gotten more that us.
These collages are made with images form the Alaska Volcano Observatory which was monitoring the situation carefully and had updates every hour. They have awesome images on the site of every stage of the eruptions, even live webcams that were sometimes clear enough to see.