Mt. St. Helens witness brings history to life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mt. St. Helens witness brings history to life

October 5, 2004


Lee County-- All eyes are on Mt. Saint Helens as it appears ready to erupt at any moment.

The Washington volcano killed 57 people in 1980.

Now, 24 years later, South Georgia students are taking notes as history comes to life in more ways than one.

Straight from the pages of a textbook, "Then we looked in the sky and the blue sky was not blue anymore," says Angela Culberson.

The Lee County para-professional has a special understanding of today's subject, "To live through history, I was younger, but to live through that and to stand up and talk about it is just amazing."

Culberson shows a small glass jar to the students, "This is volcanic ash from Mt. Saint Helens."

Volcanic ash that she collected outside her Spokane, Washington front door after the volcano burst in 1980, "I really hope it is not as big as the first one, the scientists say it won't, but it is acting up and it is taking its time and that's what it did before, it took its time."

Crowds have been gathering around Mount Saint Helens for days, watching the volcano blow off steam as the magma inside continues to rise to the surface.

But, this witness to the first blast won't go near it, "You really didn't know what was happening, you have never seen the sky go from blue to almost pitch black."

It's a reality these fifth grade students have a lot of questions about and one this survivor won't forget, "In fact I asked my son the other day if he remembered that and he said no but I do, I will never forget that day."

A day that might soon repeat itself.

Scientists do not expect an eruption to be near what it was in 1980, but a plume of ash would be a major health risk for people living nearby.

Posted at 4:30 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com