A series of powerful explosions from Soufriere produced large ash clouds and several pyroclastic avalanches, forcing the evacuation of more than 17,000 persons from the north end of St. Vincent. This eruption is particularly noteworthy because of the wide variety of observations made by various scientific teams (from land, low-flying aircraft, a high-altitude research plane, and from satellites). When these data are analyzed and integrated, the geophysical community can look forward to an unusually well-documented account of an episode of explosive island-arc volcanism. At present, however, the following preliminary account can be presented.