Mount St. Helens, WA Volcano Eruption, May 1980

Mount St Helens Avalanche Before Eruption Mount St Helens, photo from wikipedia.org_ MT ST HELENS WASH MEMORIAL

There was no immediate word on the fate of HARRY R. TRUMAN, 83, who had refused to leave his lodge at the lake.
The mountain exploded at 10:32 a.m. CDT with a bang heard for more than 150 miles, and thick clouds of dark ash rose 10 miles into the air.
Ash and melting snow on the slopes formed mudflows that sent two "walls of water" racing down the Toutle River Valley on the volcano's north side.
"We have not at this time confirmed any lava flows," said DAN MILLER, a scientist with the Geographical Survey.
The huge ash clouds turned day to night as far away as Spokane, 290 miles to the northeast, forcing airports in six cities to close and filling some emergency rooms with people suffering from chronic lung problems.
Accumulations of ash reached 3 inches in some towns, including thick deposits in Yakima, officials said.

Army and Air Force reserve helicopters were continuing a search and rescue effort in the area.
"We've got about six helicopters out right now," said a spokesman for the Air National Guard in Portland. The Guard reported dead elk and deer "all over the place."
Scientists for weeks had feared that such an avalanche could crash into Spirit Lake at the mountain's 3,200 foot level, creating huge flows of mud and water. The main Amtrak line between Seattle and Portland was closed down because a railroad bridge was washed out by a 12-foot wave from the mountain.
Sheriff NELSON said one evacuee told him "it looked like the whole north side of the mountain came out."
The eruption sparked a 3,000 acre forest fire two miles east of the volcano and dozens of smaller fires on federal, state and private land, U.S. Forest Service spokesman JIM UNTERWEGNER said.
Mudflows from the peak caused flooding on the upper Toutle River, authorities said, washing out one small bridge and a railroad span and sending two muddy, debris-filled "walls of water," as high as 12 feet in places, moving down the valley at 30 mph.

Cougar, Wash. (UPI) -- DON PLUMB, a freelance photographer, was climbing up Mount St. Helens Sunday morning "when the mountain blew up on me."
"I saw Goat Rock get blown up, and the main crater fell in about 500 feet, and I took off and went 12 miles down through the brush to Cougar," he said. "It was hot, I'd say about 100 degrees or more."
"There were some people who died in cars not far from me. I think it was from the gas. They were a little closer to it than I was, I guess. I could taste the gas, but I kept moving and it never got too bad."
BART DALFONSO saw the eruption from Hopkins Mountain, about 25 miles north of Mount St. Helens.
"When that mountain went, it looked like the end of the world," DALFONSO said.
"Heavy, thick clouds boiled up, white and blue lightning flashes crackled throughout the mountains. And it rained mud balls -- little balls a quarter inch in diameter. And after that, the ash came down. It was so powerful and quick they way the clouds built up. It just got black, and I mean pitch black."



Mt Saint Helens Eruption

My wife and 2 daughters & I lived in North Portland when it went. It was unbelievable. The ash poured from the explosion for days. We were a substantial distance from it but our yard was covered with over an inch of ash. It was a mess. If you tried to sweep it, it flew away, if you wet it, it became sludge. It clogged filters and messed up machinery & autos. It did make a pretty nice fertilizer within a couple of years afterwards. It was an amazing event for those of us who lived nearby.

Mount St Helens Eruption Recovery

I was in the Unit 54th Medical Detachment from Ft Lewis, Wa. (Helicopter Ambulance). I was part of the aircrew that recovered the first five victums and brought them home. We searched cars and logging locations for survivors and victums. There was a lot of devestation in the area, and it would take a book to explain what I saw and did. I have written a book about it but havnt published it, or even let tomany people read it. The memories are still with me. This year is the 30th aniversary of the eruption, I would just like to recognize the 54th Medical Detachment for their bravery.. I would also like to thank the local community for the support they provided for us, friendship, food, clothing and someone to talk to. Good Job to all that participated in the rescue efforts, you care and concern is appreciated and you are not forgoten.

Mt. St. Helens eruption

Just another reminder that "We are all passengers on Mother Earth, and her fate is our destiny". It brings to light the incredible power that lurks beneath our feet.