Send me your Mount St. Helens memories

Mount St. Helens erupting in 1980.

Just a reminder ... please send them to me by May 15 so I can get them all ready for the post on the 18th!

As many of you might (or might not) now, we're heading towards the 30th anniversary of the dramatic eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Now, I could fill a book with the information out there on the volcano and the eruption, but instead, I think it would be more interesting to get your takes on the eruption. I have to admit, I was all of three when the eruption occurred, so my memories of the event are hazy at best, but if you have any memories, reactions or thoughts you want to share on the events leading up to the eruption, the eruption itself and the aftermath, please email them to me at i-84cc6bc3cf2966742ba05c49f79ef53a-email.jpg.

I will compile them for a post commemorating the May 18, 1980 eruption.

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I was 20 years old when St. Helens "blew her top". What I remember about that day is that my brother and I left Beaverton, Oregon that morning and were traveling Westbound on US 26 headed toward the beach for the day. We were riding my brother's Yamaha XS 850 Full Dress motorcycle and I was the passenger so I was "rubber-necking" the scenery everywhere we went. We were just North of Hillsboro when I happened to look toward the hills to the North of us and noticed a huge cloud of "smoke" rising over the top of the hills.

I got my brother's attention and told him to stop so that we could both check it out safely. He stopped and we both watched as the cloud got bigger and higher and we very quickly realized we were watching something of "mind-boggling" proportions. Cars were stopping also and many people watched it.

We decided to go ahead and complete our trip to the beach. When we reached the beach near Seaside were able to find out exactly what was happening and it completely blew our minds. We had never imagined that such a thing was even possible.

In the days and weeks to come we found out what it was like to have volcanic ash make your life miserable. The ash was extremely abrasive and it damaged the paint finish on every car our family owned. It also plugged the air filters of our engines and got into EVERYTHING! Your cloths, your cars interior, your homes, your ears, and it was murder on your eyes! BRUTAL!

Of course with time the mountain settled down and things got back to normal but it was an experience I will never forget - well at least until Alzheimers sets in.

BTW: I have been lurking on this blog since March and it is my second favorite blog - my first favorite is an NBA blog the ultimate blog for Portland TrailBlazer Fans!

By Kevin Walter (not verified) on 13 May 2010 #permalink

I was attending UBC - B.Sc. Geology - and was working on a forest fire in the southern Interior of British Columbia about 30 miles north of Revelstoke. Suddenly there was an explosion that sounded like dynamite and a pressure wave that you could feel. Everyone dropped their tools and walked out to the road to see what was going on.

All around us the landscape was silent - nothing could account for the sound and pressure wave. Later in the day as we drove home a strange fog like haze appeared and when I arrived home I heard the news that explained the days phenomena.

Whaaa? Goo-goo?

...I was only a few months old...

We were about 200 miles to the north of the volcano. The shock wave rattled the house, shook items down on to the floor. The first thought, hearing the deep boom, was that an atomic bomb had gone off. It took an hour or more to figure out that it was the volcano, and then the fine ash started..a thin layer, but you could feel it on everything.

By J Conover (not verified) on 15 May 2010 #permalink

I was living in Tennessee, a twenty-something attending classes as a chemistry and math major undergraduate.

Mt St Helen's ash had given the Deep South a cooler than normal summer and fall in 1981.

The ash cloud left it's calling card in a most unusual winter that year. Come January 1982, the Tennessee Valley and much of the Deep South would feel the impact of the worst ice storm in many decades, accompanied by near record frigid temperatures and in some areas, snow as well. The accumulated 5 inches of ice insulated by snow, would persist to paralyze our area for nearly a month from a deceptive storm that hit January 19th, a day that had been forecast for warm conditions (50 degrees) and gentle rain.

The cold that came in on the heels of that rain that night formed a thick ice sheath that caused large power outages as transmission lines sagged and snapped, rendered roads nearly impassible due to a lack of snow removal equipment, and brought governments, businesses, and public school and universities to a grinding halt from forced absenteeism.

Since this storm crept in unannounced, the local grocery stores were not immediately stripped bare of necessitities, as was usually the case when inclement weather struck.

The piney woods where I lived developed a peculiar flat-topped profile that would persist for years, as high winds that accompanied the ice storm snapped off frozen tree tops, reducing the pine barren ecosystems to a uniform height for many miles.

Main roads were reduced to primitive deep-rutted tracks. In New Orleans, fabled slow-growing and tall century old Royal Palms that lined stately main thoroughfares in the oldest part of the city died en masse, and were reported to be irreplaceable.

Cars on secondary roads remained stuck fast for as long as two weeks, as motorists trekked resolutely to work in-town, or to makeshift bus stops in rural locations, waiting to be picked up twice each day by the only public transportation equipped with tire chains that were an absolute necessity for the hilly region - the Grey Hound Bus line.

It was a memorable winter, one of two unusually cold seasons to occur in just a few years, thanks to Mt St Helens and later, El Chichon.

One of the most impressive sights I remember was the Palouse
prairie of Eastern Washington looking like the surface of the
Moon (hmmm.) One of my clients was a rancher who said "All in all this is good for the land,it's the reason this country is so fertile.-just add water."
Just as a little OT "Palouse" is a Nez Peirce Word. They bred the spotted horses "Appaloosa" which actually derives from the term "It's a Paluose".here is a bit on that region of the US:

By Douglas DC (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I was eleven when the volcano erupted. In Britain, where I am from, there is a children's news program on the BBC called Newsround. They had the most fantastic footage of the bulge, the landslide and the eruption afterwards. It was the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever seen. I remember that the ash even made it as far as England even though it was a fine dusting, when it rained you could see it on all the cars. A couple of years later, we studied volcanoes and earthquakes at school in geography. We went and watched the footage of the volcano again and were told to do a project on it. As you can imagine, I got an A for my assignment and have wanted to be a volcanologist ever since. In July 2009 with my family and nine year old daughter who is also a volcano fanatic, we spent our vacation in WA and the very first day we had to go to the volcano and the observatory. It was a 29 year dream come true for me and a two year dream for my daughter. I hope they do something special to remember the 30th anniversary. I need to go back. I am not a volcanologist however, something I would still like to be.

By Ann-Marie (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I had to comment on this post. I don't remember the eruption of May 18, 1980 but for a good reason. I was born on that fateful day, thirty years ago today. I was born in Ashland, Oregon. My mother told me once she remembers watching ash falling to the ground that afternoon after I was born. I've always found volcanoes fascinating. I wonder why! ;-)

i have a newspaper that is a special collectors issue of the eruption of mt st helens printed in 1980and was wondering if you would know the value of this old newspaper
would be

By debra mattila (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

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