Monday, May 19, 2014

The 34th Anniversary of the Mount St. Helens Eruption on May 19,1980

Some moments in time are so epic that they are so etched into ones memory that the event always seems recent, even as the moment fades ever further back in time.

The 9/11 terror attacks are an example of this. This coming Septemenber 11 how can it already be 13 years since that horrific day?

This morning I had the same reaction when I realized it was 34 years ago today, Sunday, May 19, 1980, when I was soaking my aching back in a hot tub when I heard three distinct concussive explosive noises.

Fifteen minutes later the neighbor we called Godzilla, because she was so big we could tell she was heading our way because we could feel the ground shake, informed us that Mount St. Helens had exploded.  That news began a day, and days to follow, of what amounted to Mother Nature mounting a terror attack, releasing more energy than the most powerful of nuclear bombs.

We who were in the path of possible eruption ash plumes were advised to get breathing masks, or whatever ever it is those white masks one uses to block the flow of dust are known as. We were also advised to put some sort of extra filter on our vehicle's air filters. I don't remember how that worked.

I do remember there was only one occasion when the direction of the wind and an eruption sent volcanic dust north to my location in the Skagit Valley. I remember it resulted in a very light dusting, nothing like the multi-feet deep, snow drift-like dustings parts of Eastern Washington were hit with.

This happened almost three and a half  decades ago. Yet seems like yesterday in my memory.

If you are lucky enough to be touristing in Washington, do not miss driving the Spirit Highway to get an up close look at Mount St. Helens in her current state of mountain building, which has recently returned to active, with molten lava rising. The multiple Visitor's Centers one comes to as one drives the Spirit Highway are all worth a stop, each very well done, with the best  of the Visitor's Center being the Johnston Ridge Observatory at the end of the Spirit Highway, only five miles from the north face of Mount St. Helens.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory was built near where David Johnston died after uttering the famous words "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"

We have blogged a couple times previous on the anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption, including a blogging titled Mt. St. Helens Harry Truman's Spirit Lives On in which you can watch the YouTube video you see below and listen to the song that became a #1 hit and a tribute to Harry Truman...