Observations of Mt Tongariro this morning by GNS Science are that eruption activity has subsided.
White steam clouds were observed at the historically active Te Maari craters area but poor weather conditions at the time obscured a direct view of the active vent(s). There have been no lahars or pyroclastic flows or lava flows.
As with any volcano, an eruption could occur at Tongariro at any time with little or no warning and there is an elevated level of risk, particularly on the northern slopes and valleys of the mountain.
Monitoring continues of the ash spread from last night's eruption at Mt Tongariro and of the mountain in case of any further activity.
Ash has fallen locally around the mountain and is being blown east. People experiencing ash fall should take the following precautions:
If possible, stay indoors: volcanic ash is a health hazard, especially if you suffer from breathing difficulty. If outside, seek shelter (e.g. in a car or building)
When indoors, close all windows and doors to limit the entry of volcanic ash.
If caught in volcanic ash falls: Wear a dust mask or use a handkerchief or cloth over your nose and mouth; protect your eyes by wearing goggles. Wear eyeglasses, NOT contact lenses as fine ash will get under the lens.
Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions. Follow any evacuation orders issued by authorities. Refer to the back page of the Yellow Pages for evacuation advice.
Do not tie up phone lines with non-emergency calls.
Stay out of designated restricted zones. Effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many miles from a volcano.
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has received no reports of injuries or damage caused by the eruption. No evacuations have been ordered, however, some people who were concerned about being cut off took the sensible precaution of self-evacuating.
More detailed local information will be provided by the Emergency Management Offices at city and district councils in the area, including information about local road closures.
The New Zealand Transport Agency manages the State Highway network http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/highway-info/road/7873/north-island.html
GNS Science is monitoring the volcano and providing scientific information.
The Department of Conservation is working with GNS Science and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts within the National Park and on the ski fields.
Police and other emergency services have been alerted and are available as required.
The regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups and the Ministry are continuing to monitor the situation to be able to marshal regional and national support should that be needed.
Further updates will be issued through the day.
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