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

MOUNTAIN ERUPTS; 6 DEAD.

Vancouver, Wash. (UPI) -- Mount St. Helens exploded in a giant, killer eruption Sunday that blew 600 feet off its summit, set off huge forest fires, sent "walls of water" racing down a river valley and spewed pungent ash clouds over much of Eastern Washington.
At least six people were killed fleeing the eruption, and many more were feared dead, possibly buried under tons of ash and mud.
The eruption was by far the largest and most spectacular outburst since the mountain awoke from 123 years of dormancy March 27. Officials ordered about 2,000 people evacuated from the base of the volcano.
Officials said mudflows and flooding on the northwest side of the mountain wiped out large swaths of forest.
"It's totally devastated," said MAJ. BILL HEWES of the Air Force Reserve in Portland, who was coordinating serch and rescue efforts. "It's like being next to ground zero in an atomic bomb explosion."
HEWES said his helicopter pilots had spotted six bodies northwest of the mountain in the Toutle River Valley -- three in one car, two lying near a Weyerhaeuser Co. logging facility 12 miles from the mountain and another on the banks of the Toutle River.
HEWES predicted the death toll would go much higher. "I would imagine by the time the total comes in we'll be looking at some fairly significant figures, maybe up to 50," he said.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey reported the violent eruption early Sunday blew the top off the 9,677-foot peak, creating a new crater 1.5 miles wide.
Geographical Survey spokeswoman MINDY BRUGMAN said flows of hot ash and gases had reached Spirit Lake, a three-mile long, heart-shaped body of water at the mountain's 3,200-foot level. There were unconfirmed reports the lake was gone.

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Comments

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.