Throwback Thursday: Looking back at Mt. St. Helens after Hawaii' - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Throwback Thursday: Looking back at Mt. St. Helens after Hawaii's volcano eruption

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SKAMANIA COUNTY, WA - With Hawaii's volcano eruption this morning, we're looking back on the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. 

It was 8:32 in the morning on May 18 that Mt. St. Helens blew its top. The eruption was the most significant volcanic eruption to happen since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.

The entire weakened north face slid away, creating the largest landslide ever recorded. This allowed the volcano to suddenly explode in a hot mix of lava and rock.

By 9:45 that morning, ash started falling in Yakima. A total of 4 to 5 inches of ash fell there, and by 11:45 it was over Spokane.

It has often been described as the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history.



SKAMANIA COUNTY, WA - Friday, May 18, is the anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens eruption that, in 1980, unleashed the most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This year’s anniversary is happening as volcanic activity continues to emit dangerous gases and lava in Kilauea, Hawaii, and Oregon Office of Emergency Management Geologic Hazards Coordinator Althea Rizzo says now is great time to remember that it is important learn about volcanoes in Oregon.

“There are lots of places to get good information about volcanoes,” Rizzo said. “We live in a unique area that is geologically active, and understanding hazards posed by volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest is important because volcanoes have potential to cause problems.”

Scientist-in-Charge, Cascades Volcano Observatory Seth Moran also said that it is a good idea to understand what mountains are volcanoes and what the potential hazards associated with those volcanoes are, but said that while the ash clouds in Kilauea are ominous for Hawaiians, that they are small in the grand scheme of things and principally pose a hazard only to the Big Island.

“It's highly unlikely that Kilauea will produce an ash cloud capable of reaching the mainland,” he said.

 The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) is the agency responsible for monitoring airspace for ash in the Pacific Northwest.  Alerts can be accessed at . For more information on volcanoes visit:

“It is important to know what the hazards are for the areas you work and live in,” Rizzo explains. “We all have hazards to deal with. Once you know the hazard, you can plan.”

For more information on how to get prepared for emergencies go to: