The alert level associated with La Soufriere in St. Vincent was on Tuesday raised to orange, the third highest on the four-colour scheme, as the volcano entered an effusive eruption stage.
This means that magma is oozing from the volcano and is distinct from the explosive eruption such as that of 1979, although one could follow the other.
With the orange alert, residents of the northern third of St. Vincent — from Georgetown to Fancy, in the east, and north of Belle Isle, in the west — have been told to prepare to evacuate at short notice, should such an order be given.
“What is happening now is a serious thing. The volcano is erupting,” Professor Richard Robertson of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, in Trinidad, told the media by video link.