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May marks 'Volcano Preparedness Month,' state officials say

Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, killing 57 people — still the deadliest volcano eruption in U.S. history.

Posted: May 13, 2019 4:25 PM
Updated: May 13, 2019 4:33 PM

SALEM, Ore. — On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in a shower of rock, dirt and ash. The eruption killed 57 people, making it the deadliest volcano eruption in U.S. history. Positioned in the Cascades of western Washington, the fallout from St. Helens has been felt throughout the Pacific Northwest for almost four decades.

Now Oregon recognizes the month of May as "Volcano Preparedness Month," and state officials are asking people to learn more about the area's plentiful volcanoes and all the potential hazards that come with them.

“We can’t forget the fact that the entire Cascade Range is built from volcanoes," said Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM). "We like to hike on them in the summer time — we like to ski on them in the winter time, but we have to remember that beauty comes with a risk, and that risk is volcanic eruption."

Rizzo says that it's wise to have an emergency plan ready in case an evacuation becomes necessary, in addition to an emergency kit, and an idea of the health hazards that may present themselves following an eruption.

“The nice thing about volcanoes is they tend to give you plenty of warning. You will get a lot of signals that the volcano is waking up,” Rizzo said. “They can wake up, they can go back to sleep, or they can ramp up and go boom.”

Southern Oregon and northern California have a few potential offenders currently monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Crater Lake, Mount Shasta, and the Medicine Lake volcano all currently measure in the green, or "Normal" category. This means that while these volcanoes are considered active, there has not been any recent activity that could be cause for concern.

A recent report on the threat of volcanic eruptions in California found that "at least ten eruptions have taken place in the past 1,000 years, and future volcanic eruptions are inevitable." The report ranked Mount Shasta and Medicine Lake at "Very High" and "High" risk of eruption and resulting impact, respectively.

For more on active volcanoes in our area and beyond, check out the USGS website here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156287

Reported Deaths: 2252
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31935542
Washington21311212
Marion18541285
Clackamas13426183
Lane10325129
Jackson8489114
Umatilla767882
Deschutes597561
Yamhill379168
Linn360157
Malheur335358
Polk307343
Klamath279855
Douglas252755
Josephine236553
Benton234817
Jefferson196628
Coos152420
Union129519
Columbia127421
Wasco122126
Lincoln113620
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7776
Crook77618
Baker6639
Curry4296
Tillamook4212
Lake3786
Harney2776
Grant2251
Wallowa1425
Gilliam541
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3582320

Reported Deaths: 53083
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119601721676
Riverside2904983849
San Bernardino2870552959
Orange2617983966
San Diego2613533342
Santa Clara1110761798
Kern103756915
Fresno957851451
Sacramento937901498
Alameda809501271
Ventura77952870
San Joaquin671231150
Contra Costa62931695
Stanislaus56433953
Tulare48114768
Monterey42335329
San Mateo39148521
San Francisco34387422
Santa Barbara32147420
Solano30216165
Merced29264407
Sonoma28261301
Imperial26926638
Kings22091220
Placer19911232
San Luis Obispo19751238
Madera15523214
Santa Cruz14736183
Marin13285198
Yolo12867185
Shasta11054179
Butte11007167
El Dorado9195100
Napa908072
Sutter889998
Yuba577638
San Benito577061
Lassen562324
Tehama510452
Nevada398874
Tuolumne396659
Mendocino382643
Amador347441
Humboldt323033
Lake316941
Glenn223223
Colusa214013
Calaveras191849
Siskiyou178414
Inyo132137
Mono12144
Del Norte10085
Plumas6536
Modoc4604
Mariposa3957
Trinity3735
Sierra1000
Alpine820
Unassigned00
Medford
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