Ash clouds drifting from Iceland's spewing volcano disrupted air traffic across Northern Europe on Thursday as airports shut down and carriers canceled hundreds of flights in Britain, Ireland and the Nordic countries.
In Iceland, hundreds have fled from floodwaters rising since the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted Wednesday for the second time in less than a month. As water gushed down the mountainside, rivers had risen by up to 10 feet (3 meters) by Wednesday night.
The volcano was sending up smoke and ash that posed "a significant safety threat to aircraft," Britain's National Air Traffic Service said, as visibility is compromised and debris can get sucked into airplane engines.
In Britain, flight were suspended in the English cities of Manchester and Birmingham, as well as in Northern Ireland's Belfast and the Scottish airports at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Europe's busiest airport — London's Heathrow — had at least 150 flights canceled, while London's Gatwick airport had 138 canceled by 8 a.m. (0700 GMT).
Most of the cancellations involved flights to and from northern airports.