"The climactic June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, was the largest volcanic eruption in this century to affect a heavily populated area. Because it was forecast by scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the U.S. Geological Survey, civil and military leaders were able to order massive evacuations and take measures to protect property before the eruption. Thousands of lives were saved and hundreds of millions of dollars in property losses averted. The savings in property alone were many times the total costs of the forecasting and evacuations."
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/