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    JamesSavik
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Get Into James Shorts - 29. Hood's Wrath

mt-hood.jpg

Hood's Wrath

 

Sandy, Oregon

 

Joey Hammond arrived at his home just before dark. A suburb east of Portland, Sandy wasn't far for a commute but, the traffic was brutal. He had to leave early and would arrive home late. He wouldn't have it any other way.

Joey's house wasn't huge, but it was his favorite place to be. It was a split-level on a steep hillside on Bluff Road that always smelled of the NorthWest woods. No one would ever believe that smell if you put it in an air freshener. The Spruce, Juniper and Lodge pole Pines on his property were beautiful and smelled simply astonishing. Just down the hill from his house the Sandy River lazily wound its way down the canyon and a little over twenty miles away Mount Hood stood majestically over the forest.

On his way home he picked up some Italian food and a bottle of Chianti from his favorite vineyard. After eating some lasagna, a spinach salad and drinking a few glasses of Chianti, Joey went to sleep on his sofa with his stereo playing at a modest volume.

A few hours later he was awakened by what he thought was thunder that shook the house. Rain and even storms were no strangers to Oregon. However... that smell was. What was it? It smelled like... sulfur?

He reached for his remote control and turned on his television. As it came on, it was making that annoying emergency alert sound.

The television was tuned to an ABC affiliate station in Portland where a frazzled looking reporter was speaking.

"This is Pamela Jackson of KATU news where the US Geological Survey has announced that for the first time since 1805, Mount Hood is erupting..."

Joey jumped off of his sofa and ran out on his deck. A plume of glowing smoke was rising vertically up from the summit of Hood. Something in his stomach lurched. That beautiful mountain had awakened and even at twenty miles away, he was entirely too close.

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion and shockwave that knocked Joey onto his backside and left his ears ringing. He could no longer see the summit of the mountain. It was lost in a large glowing cloud that was growing fast. He noticed that the night was dark as pitch, and he could see no stars.

Then he saw large glowing stones falling all around him. A big one hit the house next door that immediately burst into flames. Suddenly civil defense sirens began to wail.

He walked back into his den and the TV was still on.

"Dr. Gustav what are we seeing here?"

"The volcanoes of the Cascades are of the most dangerous type. They are called stratovolcanoes. They make beautiful mountains but, inside each one is a ticking time bomb as we discovered with St. Helens in 1980. Stratovolcanoes have very thick, dense viscous lava that resists moving and erupts explosively after a great deal of pressure has accumulated. We call this type of eruption a Plinian eruption after Pliny the Younger, a Roman Naval Officer that documented the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 ad."

Suddenly, the house shook. Joey thought, "Now that was an earthquake- a strong one. Maybe a five or a six."

"What are the dangers of this kind of volcano Dr. Gustav?"

"Mount Hood has massive glaciers which will cook off rapidly creating massive mud flows called Lahars. They were the biggest killer during St. Helens. Anyone out there in low-lying canyons need to get to high ground."

Joey looked out his patio down into the canyon at the Sandy River. It was already high from the spring snow melt, but it was already higher than he had ever seen it, and it was roaring.

He ran into his garage, grabbed his "Go bag" and started running up Bluff road toward Jonsrud Viewpoint.

When he got into his front yard, he was shocked. Several houses in the neighborhood were ablaze. He knew the Johnson's were out of town, but the Brewster's son was in his front yard in a state of shock.

Karl Brewster was probably 15. He saw his neighbor and ran to him. "Mr. Hammond, what do we do? My parents aren't home..."

Hammond said, "We've got to get to higher ground. The river is already higher than I've ever seen it, and it's going to get worse."

Karl looked grateful that somebody had a plan and followed without comment.

Suddenly as they moved up the road toward the overlook, there was a tremendous shaking. Hammond pulled Karl down and said, "Earthquake, stay down."

It was a strong one, and it seemed to go on forever, but it was really only twenty seconds.

When they stood up and continued heading toward high ground, there were cracks in the road. As they rounded a curve, they found a chasm of indeterminate depth had opened up across the road. Luckily, it was only four feet wide.

They jumped across it and came across a group of about a half dozen kids and a soccer Mom.

The woman said, "You're Joey Hammond, right?"

"Yes Mam."

"What's your plan?"

"Get to high ground. Hood's glaciers are headed this way in the form of huge mud flows."

She said, "That works for me. Come on kids, let's get up this hill."

They arrived at Jonsrud Viewpoint twenty minutes later. It's view of Mount Hood on this night was terrifying. A column of fiery black smoke was rising straight up. Much of the top of the volcano was either gone or obscured. Lightning crackled and flashed from the cloud. It was the darkest night that any of them had ever seen.

They all sat on the grass and watched the mountain expel it fury into the night.

As it turned out what they had seen so far was only Hood's opening act.

At twelve minutes after midnight, Hood exploded blowing the top third of the mountain into molten pebbles and releasing deadly lahars and pyroclastic flows that devastated hundreds of square miles. The eruption was heard as far East as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and as far West as the Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hammond and his group were evacuated by helicopter the next morning. They were the only survivors found for miles around. Their decision to go to high ground saved them from both the lahars and the worst pyroclastic flows in centuries.

 

                          _________________________________________________________________________________

 

In 1980 Mount St, Helens erupted with a Volcanic Explosive Index(VEI) rating of 5. In this hypothetical scenario, Hood's eruption was a hundred times stronger: a VEI of 6- the strongest since Krakatoa in 1883.

The ash from the Hood eruption fell with the winds and circled the world many times. The environmental effects were felt for the next three years. The 100,000 people killed outright by the eruption was just a start. The famines, droughts and plant diseases that afflicted worldwide agriculture killed several hundred million more.

la-palma-eruption.jpg

Copyright © 2017 jamessavik; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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I have a fascination with volcanos, coming from a place that has none, and you do disasters so well...of course I like

this story. Thanks for sharing it.    

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James,

I just found your shorts and found this one to be amazing.  In 1980 I was 16 when St.Helens blew her top.  My hometown in about 100 miles north and we were spared most of the dammage except for the ash.  Our farm equipment was dammaged as the ash was so abrasive to the engines.  I remember being outside when the mountain blew and feeling and hearing the rumble.  My father was with me and he simply said she blew, lets get your mom and get inside.  Thats what we did and watched the news on TV seeing the total devistation as the news videos were aired.  Thirty seven years later, the mountain still looks funny missing a big piece, but things have recovered and are gteen forests again.  Your closing discription of the effects are chillingly accurate from what I remember being reported in my State.  Excelent writing and a fabulous picture.

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