Today started out as a mostly quiet day in Bali. The mountain has been shrouded in clouds for most of the day so it has been impossible to watch the Live View cameras on You Tube. However, there has been some major news as of 15:00 local time with the airport reopening. One of the biggest issues over the last few days has been the back log of tourists who were not able to leave. Accounts mention over 100,000 people have been left stranded in Bali since the airport closed on the 26th of November. Although many people have been taking a combination of cars and ferries over to Java to fly from there, many others have been staying in the area in hope that the airport would open again soon.
As expected, the backlog of thousands of stranded people resulted in a few tempers flaring and stressed airline employees having to deal with people blaming the airline staff for the closure. This closure affected both domestic and international flights and both terminals have been the scene of a lot of chaos over the last few days. The airlines themselves, as well as immigration and several embassies, were well organized in setting up information counters at the airport to help answer all questions as best they could. Now that the airport has opened again hopefully this should ease some of the stress of stranded travelers.
OutBound Flights on JetStar
From the press releases so far, Jet Star Australia will only be taking tourists out of Bali, they will not transport anyone in. I have not seen information yet about other domestic or international flights and what their plans are for incoming and outgoing traffic. However, there are flights currently departing the airport so this can only help relieve the situation on the ground. How smooth this process will go is anyone’s guess, hopefully it will work well and quickly. However, it’s all down to the wind direction so the aircraft could close again at any time.
The reason for the opening of the airport is not that the Ash Fall has lessened but rather that the wind has shifted. When the volcano first started the wind headed to the east and the ash fall went to Lombok, closing their airport. However, the wind then changed and was blowing toward the SW which put it directly over South Bali where the airport is. Now, the wind has now shifted back to the east which means the ash has now started blowing back to Lombok and their airport has had to close once again. Here is the latest diagram of the wind forecast, the black lines is where the ash cloud is going.
More Large Scale Tremors
Amidst the good news of the airport opening, there has also been a lot more intense seismic tremors in or near the volcano. This is most likely the result of magma moving up the chamber or other similar action. This does not mean that a larger eruption is imminent, however, the authorities are not messing around. There have been several of these off the scale tremor incidents in the last two days which has resulted in forced evacuations of those within the danger zone who have refused to leave. It also resulted in the scientists at the seismology centre near Agung evacuating yesterday, although they did return today. The latest off the scale tremor event happened around 18:00 local time today, although sources in Amed have not felt any shaking going on.
Here is a link to the live seismograph: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/live/seismogram/