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lillycoyote's avatar

May 18th is the 32nd anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Have you ever experienced or witnessed the awesome power of nature?

Asked by lillycoyote (24637 points ) May 18th, 2012

It’s not May 18th where I am anymore, but it’s still May 18th in some places.

I was answering this question of @gailcalled’s here couldn’t think of a way to ask a question about Mt. St. Helens but now I have.

I was lucky enough to be living in Portland, OR at the time and got to witness the power of that mountain.

I actually slept through the May 18th eruption. I was sleeping in that day, but if I had known she was going to blow, I certainly would have gotten up and gone somewhere that I could have seen it.

But… she had had a number of more minor eruptions in the previous months that were pretty awesome to see.

Thar she blows!

And there are some great images here

How has nature impressed the hell out of you?

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23 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

luckily the closest thing to that was when our above ground swimming pool blew a seam and water went everywhere. Still waiting for a tornado.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Here’s some great video of the eruption inside Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano about 30 miles from where I sit.

pieceofapuzzle's avatar

I was in Portland, OR when Mt. St. Helens erupted- so yes, I have experienced the awesome power of nature. I remember everything being covered in ash and having to wear a surgical mask.

I have also experienced some minor earthquakes. One while I was on Mt. Hood. That was kinda scary. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to erupt, too. There would have been no escape.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve been through several hurricanes.

rooeytoo's avatar

Catagory 3 and cat 4 cyclones. I NEVER want to go through a 5! Actually it is one of the reasons we moved south, we don’t want to go through any cyclones again!

Bellatrix's avatar

Thankfully I live far enough South not to have been in the path of the cyclones @rooeytoo has mentioned. I have been through a couple of really severe storms that have unroofed houses and thrown trees about. I remember one where our windows were bowing inwards… not fun.
I have also seen a bushfire tear through the nature reserve behind our house and heard the noise they make. That was close enough for me and I am thankful to have never had to live through a really bad bushfire.

ucme's avatar

A bird shat on my friend’s head one time when we were kids, predictably, I laughed long & loud.

Cruiser's avatar

Falling through the ice was my most memorable extreme moment in Nature.

ragingloli's avatar

Every time I look out to the stars. Countless billions of ferocious fusion reactors.

Charles's avatar

Thirty two years ago? Now I feel really old.
I experienced the 1971 Sylmar (Los Angeles) and 1994 Northridge (Los Angeles) quakes. Scared the hell out of me both of them.
I experienced blizzards in Colorado – also very scarey (for a native Californian).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We rarely get tornados but we had one that killed a guy in a mobile home. I had to go by what was left one day. The huge steel I beams under the trailer were bent like tissue paper. Unbelieveable until I saw it.

filmfann's avatar

I worked through both the Loma Pieta earthquake and the Firestorm two years later, but what really scared me was a Typhoon in China in 1984.

CWOTUS's avatar

I was living in Hermiston, OR at the time of the eruption, on the Columbia River in the eastern part of the state. I had worked the night before at the power plant in Boardman. The power plant has a 12-mile access road through mostly deserted and open country, so we were used to seeing “some” wildlife on the road as we commuted for our shifts.

That night, though, the night before the eruption, I was awed to see literally hundreds – I’m not kidding or exaggerating—“hundreds” of rabbits all over the road and the sides of the road as I drove in. Crept in, really, since I didn’t want to be killing a dozen rabbits in every car length that I drove. They weren’t “going” anywhere or running from anything. They were just milling around, hopping more or less aimlessly, and almost completely unafraid of me in my truck. By the time I drove home again just before dawn, the rabbits were all gone.

I slept late that morning, got up after noon, and thought it was going to be a stormy day, as I saw “storm clouds” to the north: heavy, black and ominously dark “storm clouds”. I drove to Pendleton to do some needed shopping, then drove back expecting to be in the middle of what looked like a hellacious thunderstorm. But it never came my way, and we never got a drop of rain, obviously. (Without a television at the time, and since I wasn’t listening to radio in the truck, I hadn’t known that the volcano was erupting.) It took me hours to learn what had actually happened. And then I realized that I had been watching a pulverized mountaintop drift by in the sky. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Other than that, mostly just various “storm of the century” events.

marinelife's avatar

I was living on the East Coast, but I went to visit the eruption site three years later. It looked like the site of a nuclear attack with skeletonized trees arranged in precise patterns away from the blast. And driving through mile after mile of devastation.

It has been fascinating and inspiring watching the area come back after the eruption. Now it is green and growing again. A testament to the power of nature in a different way.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Tornadoes are fairly common here in Memphis. The problem is that it is virtually impossible to predict where they will touch down, so there is always that fear when the sirens go off. The devastation left behind is just horrific, no matter how accustomed one gets to it.

The worst for me was Hurricane Elvis. While it was technically a derecho, there was no warning of it like one gets with tornadoes and hurricanes. I was on my way to work when it hit. The wind and the rain were so powerful that everyone on the interstate just stopped and hoped for the best. By the time it passed and I was able to take the next exit, it took over 30 minutes to navigate through fallen trees and power lines…normally a 10 minute drive.

Hurricane Elvis was minor compared to many other acts of nature, but wow…it was incredulous to see what kind of damage can be caused by a powerful wind in only 10 minutes.

downtide's avatar

The closest I’ve been to awesome natural power wasn’t weather. I went to Niagara Falls and rode the “Maid of the Mist”, right up to the foot of the falls. It was a fantastic experience and I was utterly awestruck by it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Storms can get hairy here!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWOTUS VERY interesting about the rabbits!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think it was 1970 or so in SoCal and we had a pretty big earthquake. At the time, my family lived up on a hill in Highland Park and it was an old Victorian on stilts. In the early morning I remember hitting the floor from my bed and having to crawl what felt like uphill to get to my parents’ room. As I looked out a window, the trees were sticking up the wrong way and I was completely freaked out, never having been in an earthquake before.

gailcalled's avatar

My brother and his wife (@Ben’s parents), were living in Olympia; the east coast family members watched the news non-stop and worrying about them.

We did have an odd but powerful tornado rip through a neighboring town; when we drove over, the swath of trees, houses and ground torn up was a shock.

I had someone very close to me killed in a sudden and freak avalanche.

Sunny2's avatar

Red hot lava flowing in Hawaii, the ground hot under our feet. Such uncontrollable power is awesome.

lillycoyote's avatar

Thanks so much for your answers everyone! Somehow, at some point, it seems that I completely lost track of this question and didn’t realize that you had all provided such wonderful comments and stories about your experiences with the power of nature.

Except for @ucme, who is, apparently, either a big baby, or lives somewhere where there are some mighty, mighty big birds and their crapping on a person’s head can be included in the category: “witnessing the awesome power of nature.” Or maybe he was referring to what his children witnessed. Perhaps @ucme was the “awesome power of nature” in that circumstance. He couldn’t have been all that happy about that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@lillycoyote @ucme did say it happened when he was a kid.

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