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Flight Delays as Winds Kick Up Chilean Volcano Ash

October 17, 2011

By The Associated Press

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Flights to and from Argentina and Uruguay are starting up again after a weekend windstorm kicked up so much ash from a Chilean volcano that airports closed in both countries` capitals.

Air travel in South America has been problematic since the Cordon Caulle volcano began erupting in June, but this time it wasn`t a new eruption grounding flights. It was winds gusting up to 75 mph (120 kmh) that kicked up tons of ash accumulated across Patagonia. Now with snow melting in the Argentine spring, there`s nothing to hold down tons of ash. A huge cloud enveloped Buenos Aires and Montevideo in gritty gray dust on Sunday, shutting down major airports.

Hundreds of flights in and out of Uruguay and Argentina were grounded Sunday, but a change in the winds cleared the skies by Monday.

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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story image: Ash and smoke billows from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano are seen in Puyehue, Chile, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP Photo/Alvaro Vidal.

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