Taal Volcano status lowered to Alert Level 2

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) – State volcanologists downgraded Taal Volcano's alert status to Level 2 or decreased unrest on Friday.

The Philippine Institute of Vocanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it was lowered from Alert Level 3 after three weeks because there have been less frequent volcanic earthquake activity and it is emitting weaker steam-laden plumes. The weak steam and gas emissions at the main crater of Taal shows there is a decrease in magmatic unrest, Philvolcs said

"DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters," it said in an advisory.

State volcanologists cautioned the public that lowering of the alert level does not mean that Taal's unrest has completely stopped or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared. It warned sudden steam-driven explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

PHIVOLVS said the alert may be raised again to Level 3 if there is a pronounced change that forewarns a potential eruption.

On January 12, Taal Volcano reached Alert Level 4, only one level away from the alert issued when a hazardous eruption is ongoing. The restive volcano emitted steam- and magma-laden plumes. It displaced thousands of residents due to the threat of an explosive eruption. Military and police officials also began a total lockdown of all 199 barangays and 15 municipalities and cities in Batangas and Cavite which were marked as vulnerable to base surges and volcanic tsunami.