The winter storms the Pacific Northwest has been experiencing for the past several days will continue for some time. VolcanoCam views of the Mount St. Helens will probably be limited gray clouds with intermittent snow blobs in the camera views. Rest assured if you are seeing gray and the image date and time stamps are within a reasonable range of the real time, both cameras are working just fine.
Forest Service officials have announced the relocation of the Mount St. Helens Climber’s Register to the Cougar Store. The move is being made in response to the December 12th fire that destroyed Jack’s Restaurant and Store, the previous location of the Climber’s Register. The Cougar Store is located in the town of Cougar, Washington five miles east of the former register location.
We stand corrected. The Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams are fully powered up and running with no problems. The Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO), while closed for the winter, is comfortable with full power. The problem is a data line, operated by telecommunications giant, Qwest. Recent storms soaked and damaged the data line, and until Qwest is able to dry it out and repair it, we will all have to wait.
There is an apparent power failure at the Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) where the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams are located. This happened last Friday ( December 7, 2007) sometime before 7:30 pm.
Please keep in mind the JRO closed for the winter in early November. All normal road access to the JRO stopped in early December. There have been several winter storms here in Southwestern Washington State during the past month, any of which would impede any access by the Forest Service from getting to the JRO to check the building, including the VolcanoCams. We also had a severe winter storm that came through a week ago (it was on the national and internal news) that caused extensive flooding in Oregon and Washington. We are just now receiving reports of any storm damage to Forest roads throughout both states.
Once we are able to access the Johnston Ridge Observatory will we know what the actual problem may be. Then we will do what we can to restore images to the web from the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams.
The Washington Department of Transportation is reporting the following road conditions for SR 504:
Single line traffic alternating directions on SR 504 in both directions at MP 20.00 between Kid Valley City Limit and FISH HOLDING FACILITY since 9:01 AM, 12/05/07 for the next day due to storm damage and debris on roadway. From milepost 20 to milepost 21.
We have reports that SR 504 near MP 20 and near MP 30 may be blocked by land slides and snow. Since both visitors centers are now closed, and SR 504 is closed beyond Coldwater Lake for the winter, you are seriously encouraged to enjoy your views of Mount St. Helens using the VolcanoCams.
Last week the Washington State Department of Transportation closed SR 504 past the recently closed Colwater Ridge Visitor Center. It is no longer possible to drive to the Johnston Ridge Observatory (which closed in early November). SR 504 will remain closed to the public until Spring 2008.
From now until next Spring, the only safe and accessible views of Mount St. Helens will be the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams. Both camera are operating just fine with no problems. If you find the images are often dull and gray, rest assured there is nothing wrong with the cameras. On the contrary, the cameras are performing just as expected, showing the volcano is often hidden behind clouds this time of the season. With a major winter storm just off the coast right now, do not expect any views for a while.