I was just 8 years old on the morning of May 18, 1980.   I had just sat down in Church with my Parents when a man frantically rushed through the door.   The man rushed over to where my best friend was sitting and began an excited conversation with his Parents.   Next thing I knew they were flying out the door, and everyone in the Church began to whisper excitedly. A few minutes later our Pastor calmly walked up towards the front of the auditorium.   Silence fell over the crowd and he began to speak.   I can't remember exactly what he said, but I did understand what he said.   He told us that this morning Mt. St.
Helens had blown for real, and that anyone living on or near the Toutle River should go quickly because a wall of mud and debris was speeding towards their homes.   My best friend, although alive and well, never got home.   The log house by the Toutle River that he lived in had been destroyed along with all of their possessions.
We went home soon after, and although I did not live on the Toutle River, I did live very close to the Cowlitz River, and just upstream from us was where the Toutle River dumped into the Cowlitz River.   On the way home, we listened to officials on the radio issue travel restrictions and flood warnings.   When we got home I went up onto the roof of my house with my Father, and I could hardly believe what I saw.   It looked like a nuclear bomb had been dropped on top of the Mountain.   I saw a large mushroom cloud growing from what had once been one of the tallest mountains in the Northwest.
At the time, I could not understand the extent of the disaster, but over the next few days it became shockingly more clear.   The minor eruptions we had seen before May 18th from the Mountain were just a preview of the main event, and a large bulge on the North side of the Mountain had been forming.   On the morning of May 18th, a large earthquake shook the Mountain causing the bulge and almost the entire North side of the Mountain to disintegrate, the result being the largest avalanche ever recorded sliding right down the side of the Mountain into Spirit Lake.   This avalanche was so large, fast and furious that the lake could not stop it, and neither could the 1,300ft ridge on the other side of the lake so it continued on down the Toutle River Valley for almost 15 miles taking out everything it encountered along the way.
Mt St. Helens Before and After
And as if that was not enough, the pressure that had been building inside the Mountain now had a way out.
A large explosion erupted through the weakened North side of the Mountain and now right on the heels of the avalanche was a pulverized wall of superheated rock, ash and debris moving at over 600mph, leaving a path of destruction up to 6 miles long.   It did not take long however for the blast to gain more of a vertical momentum, and the heat generated by the eruption quickly melted almost all of the snow and glacial ice on the Mountain causing massive mud slides to plow down all sides of the Mountain and into any bodies of water that were fed by the Mountain.   force of the over 8 hour long eruption was now pushing a growing mushroom cloud to elevations exceeding 80 thousand feet, where it was caught in the jet stream where ash from Mt. St. Helens could be carried around the world.
The above was written by my darling husband.
Thank You Honey!