After months of threatening rumbles, Mount Redoubt finally exploded overnight in five separate explosions, the latest sometime before 5 a.m. today.
A fourth explosion had rocked the volcano at 1:39 a.m. today after three eruptions earlier in the night sent an ash cloud an estimated 50,000 feet into the air, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.
...Winds were carrying the ash plume north toward the Susitna Valley, and an ash advisory has been issued for the area until 8 a.m., the National Weather Service said.
Ash was not expected in Anchorage or Wasilla at this time, the Weather Service said, although they said a light dusting might be possible [George Bryson, "Fifth Explosion Rocks Mount Redoubt Volcano," Anchorage Daily News, 2009.03.22].
Prediction: In the first 2012 GOP Presidential primary debate, Governor Sarah Palin gets her Reagan vs. Mondale "youth and inexperience" moment with a well-timed volcano joke that knocks Jindal's poll numbers into the single digits for good. She may even win some moderate votes as she acknowledges that sometimes—monitoring volcanoes, building schools and bridges, buying Alaska from Russia—government does some good.