May 18, 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the 'big' Mt. St. Helens eruption. Given its location, it probably didn't affect many of our posters here. Still, it's interesting to hear 'where were you when it happened' stories:
My family and I (I was a month away from turning 14 in May '80) were living about 25 mi. SE of Seattle in 1980, and that morning we left early for a day hike in the Cascades. During our hike, we noticed what looked like really nasty storm clouds moving in, so we hiked back out earlier than planned. When we got back to I-90 headed W. towards Seattle, it didn't take long to realize the interstate was almost deserted, and NO traffic at all headed eastbound (toward where a lot of ashfall was anticipated). We turned on the radio and that's when we heard that St. Helens blew its top.
We were up when the eruption occurred, but did not hear it. Supposedly the initial blast could be heard for many miles (10's or even 100's) away. We lived about 100-120 miles from St. Helens. We did not see it either, but IIRC it was overcast that day. There were subsequent eruptions later that summer which we could see from our deck.
We didn't get any ash where we lived at the time, but my hometown in E. Washington (Richland, WA--about 180 miles E. of St. Helens) got about 1/2 - 1 inch of ash IIRC. Other areas in E. Wa. got substantially more.