(Mt. St. Helens 1980 - Real-time shock and awe; 80,000 feet worth)
This particular day in 1980 Mt. St. Helens, after almost two months of seismic activity in the area and stress releases, finally blew with a cloud formation spiraling some 80,000 feet in the air and turning the once lush landscape into a desolate moonscape within minutes. Here is an initial report, some three hours after the event when initial reports of damage were considered "light" and the true vastness of the destruction wouldn't be known for days.
George Herman (CBS News): “Mt. St. Helens blew up with a bang a little more than three hours ago, and there was no . . there was one report that lava had begun to flow from its crater. But although flash flood warnings are in effect in case of lava or mud slides, none have appeared.“
I was initially going to point out that, given the technical limitations of the time, reports of disasters such as these were always downplayed where destruction and loss of life were concerned. But I realized we've been doing that even as recently as the earthquakes in Haiti, China and Japan. Why do we want to believe disasters are never as bad as they seem until the actual picture comes out?
One wonders. But we forget so quickly anyway . . .