Winter weather patterns should now be considered the norm these days. That means views of Mount St. Helens will be far and few between. Expect several days in a row of cloudy and stormy weather, with perhaps a break in the clouds lasting minutes to hours. For travellers please be especially wary of weather and road conditions. Let others know when and where you are travelling. Make sure your vehicle is equipped for winter travel. Most importantly, when you travel make sure you, and everyone travelling with you, is prepared for winter travel. Be aware that cell phones do not work in large areas of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Help is not a simple phone call away.
Just as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano every spring, the icicles return to the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams. It matters not that the calendar says winter is more than a month away. Winter has now arrived at Mount St. Helens.
We have our first large icicles this morning hanging from the eaves in front of both VolcanoCams. We can only hope the clouds clear just a bit and the temperatures remain so we can catch some icicle prism views today.
The Johnston Ridge Observatory (where the VolcanoCams are located) is scheduled to close for the winter at the end of the day on Sunday, November 9. The observatory will reopen in mid-May 2009 for the 2009 visitor season (opening date will be dependent on weather and snow levels). If you are planning on visiting the JRO one last time this year, please take extra caution and respect the weather. Check the weather forecasts several days in advance of your visit, as well as the day you plan to visit. Visit the Washington Department of Transportation web site for road conditions reports. Make sure you bring extra clothes, food and water, and your vehicle is equipped for winter travel. Yes, even for a day visit to the JRO. It never hurts to be prepared. More importantly, that thermos of hot chocolate you pack will taste so much better, no matter the weather.
The VolcanoCams are working just fine this morning with no reported the problems.