The West Indies Seismic Research Center reported that the second explosion occurred at 14:45. It formed a feather about 2.5 miles high. Witnesses reported a third explosion shortly after, but the center said the blows from the second explosion were continuing.
Experts warned that more explosive eruptions were possible and volcanic activity could continue for weeks.
The eruptions came less than a day after volcanologists warned of the potential of such a disaster and island officials rushed to evacuate the thousands of people most at risk.
The first explosion at 8:41 am on Friday threw an ash cloud more than 6 miles into the sky. The country’s disaster risk management agency said heavy ashfall covered the island for miles and reached the country’s airport on the other end of the island.
The agency said the low visibility caused by ashfall prevented evacuation efforts.
No immediate notification of injury or death was received.
Earlier, the disaster agency called on those living in the so-called “red zone” closest to the volcano “to leave immediately”.
There were about 16,000 people in the red zone. The evacuations began on Thursday night, and emergency officials said they were still ongoing as the volcano spilled ash on Friday morning. The cruise ships would arrive later on Friday to evacuate the evacuees from the island.
St. Vincent is an island in the eastern Caribbean, 500 miles southeast of Puerto Rico.
The National Hurricane Center warned seafarers of the potential for ash fall and volcano eruption in the area as they hurl clouds of ash to the east across the Atlantic Ocean.
Activity in the volcano has increased significantly since Thursday. According to the West Indies Seismic Research Center, a series of earthquakes have been detected in the area showing magma rising towards the surface. Gas and steam leaking from the volcano are also increasing, which is another harbinger of the eruption.
The volcano started leaking lava in December 2020. This was the first activity in La Soufrière since 1979, when there was another explosive blast. This event released destructive pyroclastic flows.