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Ash falling on Alaska towns as Mount Redoubt erupts

ANCHORAGE — An erupting Mount Redoubt exploded again this morning at 4:31 a.m. -- its fifth and strongest discharge yet -- sending an ash cloud to new heights, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.

Ash has now been detected at an elevation of 60,000 feet above sea level, the National Weather Service reported.

Winds are still carrying the ash plume north over the Susitna Valley, and minor ash fall has been reported in Skwentna, Trapper Creek and Talkeetna.

Ash is not expected in Anchorage or Wasilla at this time, the Weather Service said.

Northwest of the city, the ashfall is being described as fine gray dust.

"It's coming down," Rita Jackson, 56, said early Monday morning at a 24-hour grocery store in Willow. She slid her fingers across the hood of her car, through a dusting of ash. She said she was taking a sip of coffee when she tasted something funny on her lips — ash. She said she hurried home to get a motorcycle, snowmachine and vehicles under protective blue tarps.

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