Forecasting and Warning for Mt. St. Helens Streams

by Vernon C. Bissell, NOAA, Northwest River Forecast Cent, Portland, OR, USA,
Richard J. Hutcheon, NOAA, Northwest River Forecast Cent, Portland, OR, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


The eruption of Mt. St. Helens in southern Washington on May 18, 1980, created great devastation both by the blast itself and by mudflows generated by melting snow and ice. Several hydrologic hazards remain: (1) sediment-laden channels have reduced capacity to carry flows from rainfall and snowmelt events, (2) lakes formed by the debris from the 1980 eruption are considered hazardous, and (3) hot pyroclastic materials from volcanic eruptions can rapidly melt large quantities of snow and ice. Technologies in several areas have been brought to bear to assist the U. S. National Weather Service (NWS) in flood forecasting and warning preparedness. The entire system uses state-of-the-art technology with built-in redundancy and human interaction and interpretation. It is designed to provide the NWS with the information required to issue warnings for flooding in a timely and efficient manner.

Subject Headings: Disaster warning systems | Forecasting | Snowmelt | Rivers and streams | Floods | Hazardous substances | Landslides | Ice | Washington | United States

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