Flyingsottsman
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Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 9:35 am

Hello A netters last night was watching a documentary on Mt St Helens and its 1980 eruption, how did that blast affect SeaTac and surrounding airports in May of that year, did they shut down all the airports around that area including Portland, Was Vancouver Airport affected and is the FAA in constant contact with the USGS concerning the Cascades Volcano's, or any areas where dormant volcanos are?
 
DFW17L
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 11:31 am

Don’t know about SeaTac, but the Boeing data centers in the puget sound area installed large rolls of plastic on the walls at the ready in case there was an ash event. To be installed *after* shutting down the servers.
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 11:53 am

Would there had been any response from the authorities with regards to the eruption? Don't forget BA9 aka the Mt. Galunggung incident occurred 2 years later.
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 1:33 pm

I don't have a link, but the first eruption mostly went east. It likely closed Spokane for a day. There was a shear wind that blew a little ash to the Ocean Shores area on the coast. Regional airports, Yakima, Moses Lake etc must have been affected. The second big eruption one week later went northwest. In Chehalis are schools closed for the year. Planes flying out of Seattle probably went on some weird looking paths for several days to stay out of the ash.
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Western727
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 4:57 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
I don't have a link, but the first eruption mostly went east. It likely closed Spokane for a day. There was a shear wind that blew a little ash to the Ocean Shores area on the coast. Regional airports, Yakima, Moses Lake etc must have been affected. The second big eruption one week later went northwest. In Chehalis are schools closed for the year. Planes flying out of Seattle probably went on some weird looking paths for several days to stay out of the ash.


I had relatives in Ephrata (near Moses Lake) and photos they took of the "gray snow that wasn't cold" on everything that had to be physically removed in a hurry before the first rains came, or it'd be a heck of a chore to clean. And cars had to have their air filters replaced very often if driven, so cars were only used if absolutely necessary during the first few days in affected areas. My grandparents told me that face masks and car/home air filters were obviously in very-high demand.

Anyway, I imagine that jetliners indeed took weird flight paths. I wish we could have flightaware.com-like images of such flight paths!

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
Would there had been any response from the authorities with regards to the eruption? Don't forget BA9 aka the Mt. Galunggung incident occurred 2 years later.


That's a good question; I wonder if the USGS's warnings in advance of the eruption, given all the earthquakes and other warning signs, and resulting media attention, resulted in a greater sense of urgency. Just an uneducated guess, though.
Jack @ AUS
 
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ER757
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 5:44 pm

SEA wasn't greatly affected - Mt St Helens lies quite far to the south and east of SEA - prevailing winds took the ash the other direction. PDX was much more affected. I flew into PDX about five days after the eruption and there were small piles of ash which had been "plowed" pretty much like snow would be in the winter. Also parts of the tarmac had been hosed down so the ash wouldn't blow around.
YKM was hit REALLY hard - went to Yakima the day after I arrived in Portland and it was still quite a mess - huge piles of plowed ash everywhere - 10 or 15 feet high. Lots of people wearing face masks etc.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 6:58 pm

In Chehalis the city dumped huge piles of ash in a southern park located just off the freeway. Tourists took it all away.
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hiflyeras
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Thu May 16, 2019 9:11 pm

I was in college, working for Amtrak at the time, and on a run from PDX-SEA. The Toutle River Bridge we crossed over only a couple of hours earlier was washed out. I'm working on jets now but working on the rails was a great experience.
 
Western727
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Fri May 17, 2019 4:45 pm

hiflyeras wrote:
I was in college, working for Amtrak at the time, and on a run from PDX-SEA. The Toutle River Bridge we crossed over only a couple of hours earlier was washed out. I'm working on jets now but working on the rails was a great experience.


Shut the front door, two hours!! That's something, alright.
Jack @ AUS
 
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RWA380
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Fri May 17, 2019 8:51 pm

hiflyeras wrote:
I was in college, working for Amtrak at the time, and on a run from PDX-SEA. The Toutle River Bridge we crossed over only a couple of hours earlier was washed out. I'm working on jets now but working on the rails was a great experience.


My Dad was in Seattle on business & took off once the eruption started, he made it across the Toutle bridge on I-5 & it was closed about 30 minutes later. Portland got it worse than Seattle, people put on their cars, used panty hose over their air filters to make the filter last a bit ;longer. We had days upon days of dry grey silt on everything. Flights were cancelled & diverted at times, but as others mentioned, Eastern Washington got the worse of it. YKM, PSC, ALW, PUW, PDT, GEG, EAT all got hammered.
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hiflyeras
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Fri May 17, 2019 10:07 pm

Western727 wrote:
[Shut the front door, two hours!! That's something, alright.


We were actually running on time that day ;)
 
mcg
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Re: Seatac and Mt St Helens 1980

Fri May 17, 2019 11:14 pm

The airport in Missoula was closed for several days, as I recall. I think there was concern the ash would be abrasive to jet engines and other systems. I was in college and finals had to be delayed a few days as the university was closed for a few days.

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