Pretty much as meteorologists and geologists anticipated, there was an eruption today at Mount St. Helens [or Lawala-Clough or Loowit, for those of us who prefer the original Klickitat names]. And pretty much as expected, the local media had its own eruption — of frenzy. Judging from the anxious tones of the local TV news at noontime, Armageddon cannot be far behind. [Film at 11?]
To WWP’s eye, today’s rumble doesn’t qualify as much more than geological hiccup, or best, a really big burp. Only a few hours after the mountain let out its little belch, and as this post was being written, things looked pretty darn calm up at the mountain. [K's Quill even refers to it as an "anticlimax."] Basically, there's no comparison to the events of May 18, 1980, despite the local media’s efforts to portray it otherwise.
One unsettling similarity between today and 1980, however, is the tourism factor. In 1980, just three of the deaths in 1980 were inside the so-called Red Zone [a safety barrier that in hindsight turned out to be woefully undersized]. Most of those killed outside the zone were campers and visitors — tourists, basically — all caught off guard by the unforeseen cataclysm to come.
Today, KGW reports that the mountain is once again drawing tourists:
Camcorder in hand, Sheri Ray stood on Johnston Ridge — named for a man killed when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 — and waited impatiently for the volcano to blow again.As Chuck Currie points out, WWP has heard that story before.
Forest Service interpreter Anna White stands in front Mount St. Helens while giving at Johnston Ridge, at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Wash.
“I thought I was going to feel earthquakes,” she said, frowning. “I'm mad.”
Intensifying rumblings from the nation's most cantankerous mountain had geologists saying Thursday it could erupt any minute. But hundreds of curious, excited and apprehensive visitors to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument couldn’t feel a thing.
Ray, a 28-year-old bartender from Vancouver, Wash., and her husband, Dustin, called in sick to work to spend the day hoping for an eruption — just not a big one.
[WWP's original posted can be found here.]