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Alaska volcano's eruption triggers flood, halts flights

An eruption of Mount Redoubt on Thursday triggered a flood of mud-saturated water in the Drift River, but officials were at a loss to say whether it passed harmlessly by the oil facility near the mouth of the river or penetrated the protective dike there.

Ash from Redoubt volcano has been falling in Homer, residents there reported this afternoon, and commercial airline traffic throughout Southcentral Alaska has come to a near halt because of airborne ash drifting over the Kenai Peninsula.

Redoubt erupted twice this morning, including a huge explosion at 9:24 that sent a cloud of ash to 65,000 feet, higher than any since the mountain came to life on Sunday night.

Alaska Airlines announced today that it's canceled all flights in and out of Anchorage for the rest of the day, and other airlines are canceling flights as well.

No ash is expected to fall in Anchorage, but it may reach the upper atmosphere just south of city, National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Bedal said.

Ash began falling in Homer shortly before 2 p.m., residents there said.

By 3 p.m. it was falling harder, and the Weather Service was predicting the area might receive up to one-eighth inch.

Just before it reached town, Homer City Manager Walt Wrede said the plume had blocked out the view across Cook Inlet.

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