Plumes of Volcanic Ash Halt Air Travel Across Europe - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ashy Air: Plumes of Volcanic Ash Halt Air Travel Across Europe

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(WOIO) - Ash clouds from Iceland's spewing volcano halted air traffic across Europe on Thursday as authorities closed air spaces over Britain, Ireland and the Nordic countries. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded in one of most disruptive events to hit air travel in years.

The move shut down London's five major airports including Heathrow, a major trans-Atlantic hub that handles upwards of 1,200 flights and 180,000 passengers per day. Shutdowns and cancellations spread to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland.

In Iceland, hundreds of people have fled rising floodwaters since the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted Wednesday for the second time in less than a month. As water gushed down the mountainside, rivers rose up to 10 feet by Wednesday night, slicing the island nation's main road in half.

The volcano still spewed ash and steam Thursday, but the floods had subsided. Some ash was falling on uninhabited areas, but most was being blown by westerly winds toward northern Europe, including Britain, about 1,200 miles away.

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