A dog howled lonesomely outside a locked door as the last residents of the island’s capital fled Wednesday, fearing that a long-dormant volcano near the edge of town was about to erupt.
The Soufriere Hills Volcano, four miles east of Plymouth, has been rumbling and causing worries since July 18. But a series of strong ventings of noxious gases and ash that began Monday prompted authorities to order the evacuation of the southern half of this British Caribbean colony.
At Bramble Airport, dozens of people clutching children and baggage crowded to get on planes bound for the neighboring island nation of Antigua.
Plymouth, home to some 3,000 people, now is a city of empty streets and shuttered windows, in perpetual gloom because of a huge cloud of ash being spewed by the volcano.
Green-bereted British Marines manned roadblocks to keep people from returning to the evacuated half of the island, which is just 11 miles long and no more than seven miles wide.