Yesterday, May 18th, was the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I still vividly remember being driven to Sunday School that morning, seeing the plume in the sky (I was raised in Beaverton, OR) and wondering what happened. A little while later my parents, like many parents, came up to the church to take me home not being sure of how the day was going to play out and wanting the family to be together. It turns out, we were never in any real danger, but you don’t usually know this while you’re going through a situation, you only realize it when you’re on the other side.
Looking through a list of Natural Disasters in the United States I hadn’t realized how many of them I’d had close contact with:
- 2017 – Hurricane Maria hits Florida
- 2017 – Hurricane Irma hits my house (and Florida)
- 2016 – Hurricane Matthew hits Florida
- 2005 – Hurricane Katrina, the year I moved to Florida. I drove through New Orleans days before Katrina made landfall.
- 1999 – Tropical Storm Floyd hits Delaware. High winds topple trees and heavy rains cause 100-year flooding levels.
- 1994 – Northridge Earthquake hits Los Angeles. I was at a conference in Irvine, CA. Always wear pajamas while staying in a hotel, you never know when you’re going to have to climb down many flights of stairs in the early morning hours.
- And, of course 1980 – Mt. St. Helens erupts
With all of these, the common thread is preparing yourself the best you can with the information you have on hand at the time. If the situation changes later, don’t be too hard on yourself. I chuckle every time I walk by the jugs of water sitting in my dining room. When the pandemic started and there was a run on toilet paper we didn’t know if there would be a run on water, so we moved it inside from the carport to keep it from being looted when society fell apart. Fortunately, society hasn’t fallen apart (yet) but there the jugs of water sit.
Be well, stay safe, make sane decisions, and stay flexible as new information presents itself.
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