USGS Update 2005-Jan-17 10:00
Potential ash hazards: Wind forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coupled with eruption models, show that ash clouds that rise above the crater rim today would drift chiefly eastward.
Recent observations: The volcano is obscured by clouds this morning and data from field sites show that it has been raining and streams draining the crater have higher water flows. New instrumentation packages, including video camera, gas sensor, GPS, and seismometer, installed on and near the new lava dome on Friday stopped transmitting data early Sunday morning. The exact cause is not known owing to poor visibility, but interpretation of seismic and other data suggest that a rockfall and perhaps a steam and ash emission generated small flows of ash or falls of rock fragments that damaged the instruments. In the 24 hr prior to the event, the GPS on the north end of the new lava dome moved southward and upward more than 8 meters showing that dome extrusion continues at a vigorous pace. Assessment of conditions in the crater awaits improved visibility.
Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continues, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash. During such eruptions, episodic changes in the level of activity can occur over days to months. The eruption could also intensify suddenly or with little warning and produce explosions that cause hazardous conditions within several miles of the crater and farther downwind. Small lahars could suddenly descend the Toutle River if triggered by heavy rain or by interaction of hot rocks with snow and ice. These lahars pose a negligible hazard below the Sediment Retention Structure (SRS) but could pose a hazard along the river channel upstream.
Potential ash hazards to aviation: Under current eruptive conditions, small, short-lived explosions may produce ash clouds that exceed 30,000 feet in altitude. Ash from such events can travel 100 miles or more downwind.
The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington continue to monitor the situation closely and will issue additional updates and changes in alert level as warranted.
My intent with this page is to provide a clearning house for links to the current activity at Mt.St.Helens. Please send me any links of interest that you may come across, whether for permanent sites or for news reports. I'm not going to be able to do this all alone and all help will be appreciated.
(Disclaimer I have no association with anyone or any organization, and speak only for myself. Links and quotes are provided for information only.)