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Weirdest Weather - Volcanic Ash Grounds UK Flights

Like a scene from a doomsday movie, flights across the UK have been grounded due to dark clouds of volcanic ash rolling in from Iceland. Quite scary, I'd say. Especially when it could take a couple of days to clear and for operations to return to normal.

So, here's the skinny. The cloud of ash originated from a volcanic eruption in Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull area (no typo, it's an actual place). It was reported that the volcano, which was under a glacier, was apparently still active as recently as midnight on Wednesday. The dark cloud of ash hit UK shores early Thursday morning and has caused a number of UK airports, including Manchester, Liverpool, Stansted and Newcastle to ground flights. The official word from NATS (The Air Traffic Control Service) however, is that during the course of the day, more and more flights might be affected.

So why the panic? Well, volcanic ash is apparently not as ashy as you might think. It also contains particles of glass, rock and sand which can be detrimental to aeroplane engines. And with lessons learned in 1981 when a jumbo jet lost all 4 engines when flying through an ash cloud, airlines are playing it safe. BAA has already grounded all their domestic flights for the whole of Thursday and it's expected that more will follow suit.

The ash cloud is predicted to move into the rest of Europe by Thursday night, disrupting even more flights. And with Heathrow cancelling around 150 flights and Gatwick around 138, I'm wondering how much money the ash cloud is costing the folks in charge. Lots and lots of it, is what I'm thinking.

Mother Nature: 1. Man: 0. Again!

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Clayton Truscott

Clayton Truscott

Clayton is a comfortable traveller, having grown up in a small city that was far away from everything. He spent lots of time in the car as a child, driving up and down the coast of South Africa on surfing trips with his family. After studying abroad in the United States and spending a year working in London, he moved to Cape Town, where he completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. He now works as a freelance writer for various travel, surfing and action sports publications.