Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Redoubt rumbles, turtles tremble
We're waiting it out, while we're hoping the winds won't turn and dump ash all over us. The higher level winds are now blowing to the east - towards us. The lower winds are still blowing to the north and west. After Sunday night's small eruptions, there were two minor "explosions" today, but no ash cloud was detected this time.
We've had to deal with ash-falls several times in our 34 years here in Alaska. Nothing close to the mess they had in central Washington after Mt. St. Helens blew up in 1980. Still, enough to make us miserable for a few days or weeks each time. Our second winter in Alaska brought 1/2" of ash after an eruption of Mt. Augustine to the southwest of us. The world turned from pure white to dark gray and the dust blew around on the roads for several days before a fresh snowfall covered everything up, for a time. But after the snow melted in April, the ash was once again in our hair, our throats, our teeth, our eyes, and of course our air-filters. Although our houses are sealed fairly well to keep out the cold, the dust still found its way inside, coating everything.
Augustine erupted ten years later, again in the winter, but that ash-fall was pretty light. Then, Redoubt Volcano erupted in 1989, covering the area just to the north of us (where I was working at the time) with a relatively heavy dose of ash, but we only got dusted here at home. The summer rains cleaned it all up fairly quickly. Mt. Spurr had a few minor eruptions in 1992 just as the snow-melt was flowing into the gutters and ditches, so most of that minor ash-fall was quickly washed away. Since then we've been lucky.
Now, I am worried our luck is about to run out.
Z got his driver's license this past Monday. We had more than 50 hours of one-on-one lessons over the past 9 months, driving on all the worst possible road conditions - from dusty and muddy gravel roads to patchy ice, wet ice, deep snow, slush. Then, he attended a driving school to learn all the finer points. I think he'll be a pretty good driver.
This is hard for me, because this is such a big transition in our lives. He's already driving to school and even went to the library after school, today. Who needs parents anymore? Fortunately he's a good kid, and his excellent grades (and that driving course) helped reduce insurance costs, a lot. Before we know it he'll be off to college...