Where Were You When Mount Saint Helen's Blew?

Real Estate Agent with Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty DRE# 00901962 Lic.1985

Where Were You at 8:32 am on May 18, 1980 When Mt. St. Helen's Blew? 

Mt St Helens May 18 1980 eruption Michelle Carr Crowe blog imageAs many of my relatives lived in rural Washington, the earth-shaking eruption of the Mount Saint Helen's volcano forty-two years ago was a seminal event for our family. 

Before the Internet and cellular phones, we didn't know whether my aunt, uncle, grandparents and cousins were even still alive until I came home from school that afternoon. 

Then we made numerous urgent calls to my grandmother, aunt, and cousins checking that everyone was safe. It sometimes took hours to get through to anyone. Nothing was worse than the anxiety provoked by that near-constant busy signal. And remember, this was back when long-distance calls were expensive

The stories that emerged once we connected with relatives were terrifying. Even though our relatives lived 20 and 30 air miles away from the volcano, thick ashy smoke was everywhere, poisoning the air.

My cousin Sue explained you needed to stay inside to breathe and stay safe, as the air was black and thick with ash. Many folks relied on their fireplaces to burn wood for heat-but ash was coming down the chimneys and making people sick in their homes. The thick ashy air also made driving near impossible.

It was like living in a forest fire. Everything smelled and tasted of smoke, inside and outside. 

People shared about hot embers landing and catching debris, brush and roofs on fire. Almost everyone we were related to knew someone who died, was injured or sustained damage to their home or property from the Mt. St. Helen's volcanic eruption.

Forty-two years years later it's interesting to ask, "Where Were You at 8:32 am on May 18, 1980 When Mt. St. Helen's Blew?" Yet the feeling of terror and trauma remain for those who survived.

When Mount St. Helens erupted in the state of Washington, the natural disaster killed 57 people and caused $3 billion in damage.  

While it's remembered as “the day the volcano blew”, the actual trigger event was a massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale. The resulting eruption reduced the elevation of the mountain's summit by more than 10 percent--from 9,677 feet to 8,365 feet, replacing it with a 1-mile-wide horseshoe-shaped crater. 

The eruption itself lasted more than 9 hours and fallout was found as far as Canada and Idaho. As a result of this natural devastation, the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow scientists to study it. 

Thanks for reading “Where Were You When Mount Saint Helen's Blew?

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Aloha & God Bless You, 

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Michelle Cherie Carr Crowe Real Estate Team

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DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985

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Michelle Cherie Carr Crowe and her "Get Results Team" (established by the late legendary Silicon Valley super agent Judy Carr) are known as the "Lynbrook and Cupertino Schools Experts." Coaching clients to success is Michelle's passion, making her and her team creative catalysts for positive change in people's lives. She is a Silicon Valley-based multi-million dollar real estate consultant, author, coach and trainer who works by referral only.

Her designations have included: Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Accredited Consultant of Real Estate (ACRE), Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS)Accredited Staging Professional (ASP)Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE),  Property Marketing Expert (PME), Real Estate CyberSpace Specialist (RECS), and Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).

Michelle is an internationally-published freelance writer with over 1,200 traditional articles published in print and online, co-author of two books on Silicon Valley-specific real estate as well as over 68,000 blog posts on Blogger, ActiveRain, Examiner, FaceBook, Realtor, Trulia, RealBird and others. She enjoys reading, traveling, animals, nature, family, dancing, staging, consulting, coaching and praying. Check out her blog at www.activerain.com/results or visit her online at www.michellejudycarr.com. For RE$ult$ ... Just Call ... (408) 252-8900.


Comments (12)

Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Michelle. I have no idea where I was that day but at that point in my career I was working. It was 11:32am in Chicago. That is all I remember. Enjoy your day.

May 18, 2022 05:07 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years


Natural disasters are always more impactful when one knows people who were affected by them.

May 18, 2022 11:15 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Michelle- I can only guess that I was at work or on my way to work in Houston. And you're right...when the natural disaster hits in your area or where your relatives are, you tend to remember it more than the rest of us. 

May 18, 2022 05:58 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes May 18 was definitely a memorable day in many ways for our family.

May 18, 2022 08:37 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

May 21, 2022 06:42 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Michelle - I certainly remember it from a distance but it was all over the news for a long time.  Even though we were on the east coast we still wanted to help in the relief effort.

May 22, 2022 05:52 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

I don't remember where I was but I have been to Mt St. Helen's.  I was shocked at the devastation I saw 22 years later.  The trees were blown over in perfect symmetry like matchsticks.  Nothing had grown back.  We have a rock from that site and also bought some souvenir bottles of volcanic ash. The rock sits in our family room.  It is a reminder of what can happen.

This is the only digital recreation of a picture I took.  I do have a photo album somewhere.

Mt St. Helens - 22 years later

May 22, 2022 08:54 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Michelle,
I lived  (and still live) in central Washington and we got a thick dusting of ash. I remember exactly where I was... at home.  We had a grandson that was born 3 days prior. The daughter who was at college was supposed to come home for the weekend but stayed away because of the eruption. She met her future husband on campus that weekend. They have 2 kids and 5 grandkids now! Life changed in many ways that weekend.

May 22, 2022 11:13 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

I remember that volcano.  A college friend and I were taking a summer break from working on our Masters and went backpacking out west and on the  pacific coast.  We somehow ended up there after the volcano (not sure how long) but it was really creepy driving through the area and everything was dead and black/grey.  It was one of the oddest experiences I ever had on one of my driving trips.

May 22, 2022 11:23 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I remember the eruption, but don't remember where I was or what I was doing. That must have been a terrible experience, both to be living through it, and to have family in that area wondering if they are okay. Thanks for sharing.

May 23, 2022 05:01 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I was somewhere in the ether yet to be born. But what an amazing thing it was

May 23, 2022 07:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Michelle:

Hard to believe it's been that long ago. We were living in Michigan at the time and it was just a couple of weeks before my older daughter's birth.


May 25, 2022 03:50 PM