Mt. Saint Helens (1980)

I was thinking May 18th? Why is May 18th important. Then I remembered. Mt. St Helens is about 80 miles from here. In volcano terms that’s in your back yard. And 33 years ago my volcano went off. It covered my house in 6 inches of volcanic ash. It was dark at noon. You had to wear a mask to go outside. You had to wrap your car air cleaner with layer of ladies nylons to keep the volcanic ash from grinding the inside of your motor out. It destroyed every living thing for 15 miles with 57 people. The explosion came in at just a shade under 24 megatons. If there was a nuclear war, it would look something like my neighborhood did. It blew a mile off the top of the mountain. Pictures can’t do this justice, but we’ll show some USGS footage anyway.

I shook the hand of Mr. Harry Truman, a cantankerous old buzzard of the best kind. Sold me a fishing license. That must have been some time in 1978. He wasn’t gonna leave his mountain. Luckily, I doubt he knew what hit him. Spirit Lake lodge was hit with a pyroclastic flow. That’s 1000F heated gas going 450 miles an hour. Where the lake store used to stand is covered in 150 feet of volcanic debris. God’s speed Mr. Truman. His wife had passed on. His kids were raised and I don’t think he felt like he was in a hurry to go anywhere.

Here’s a recent PBS special on St. Helens

And a good picture.