Volcano erupts for first time in six years
The Shinmoedake volcano in southwestern Japan started erupting Wednesday for the first time in about six years. According to Japanese broadcaster TBS, an ash plume rose 1,700 meters (5,580 feet) from the crater Thursday and ash fell on cities and towns in Miyazaki prefecture. Videos showed students wearing helmets and masks on their way to an elementary school at the foot of Shinmoedake. The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning that hot ash and gas clouds known as pyroclastic flows could reach 1 mile from the crater. It raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5.