This past Wednesday, in the early evening, we lost signals from both VolcanoCams. Both were back online sometime Thursday afternoon. The cause of the problem was found to be a commercial network service that supplies access between the Interstate 5 corridor at Castle Rock, Washington, and the Forest Service network near Johnston Ridge. The cameras continued to function with no problems, however, network access was not working. All seem to be well this morning.
Twentynine years ago today, at 8:32 am Sunday morning, Mount St. Helens erupted. Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments. In 1982, the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.
The Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) will reopen for the season on Sunday, May 17. The visitor center will be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through October. Admission to Johnston Ridge and Coldwater Lake is $8 per person, kids 15 and under are free.
The reopening of State Route 504 and Johnston Ridge will restore access to a monument that has been largely inaccessible due to roads blocked by snow. Visitors will be able to gaze into the crater and view North America’s youngest glacier and learn how the landscape was reshaped by the 1980 eruption. The visitor center offers live seismographs, geologic exhibits, 16-minute eruption movie, ranger-talks, and bookstore.
If you plan to visit the JRO this weekend, make sure you play close attention to the weather!! While temperatures in the valleys are expected to climb into the high 70s and low 80s, never assume the mountains will be warm. We've had a cool and wet Spring in the Cascade Range. That means be prepared for any kind of weather when visiting the JRO this early in the season.
Admission on the 29th Anniversary of the 1980 Eruption, on Monday, May 18, is free; this includes admission to Johnston Ridge and Coldwater Lake. As part of the monument's 29th anniversary commemoration Dr. Steve Schilling, with the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, will present a slide program featuring recent eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens and the amazing changes that occurred to the Crater Glacier during the 2004 to 2008 eruption. The slide show will precede the showing of the award winning movie 'Message from the Mountain' at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Hey, we're back! Did you miss us? Our most profound apologies that you haven't seen a daily weather update on the VolcanoCams home page in more than two weeks. Actually, we've been here the entire time. So what happened, you are asking? Well, the US CERT team found an anomally within the agency web. Access was severely curtailed. Now that the restriction has been lifted, access is being restored. It's just taking some time. We received our access late this afternoon.
On another good news front, the Mount St. Helens maintenance staff finally got to the Johnston Ridge Observatory last week after a very long winter. They managed to perform tests on the VolcanoCamHD camera and all were successful. Look for the VolcanoCamHD camera views to be back online shortly.