This cumulus cloud looks like Mount Rainier has erupted! I snapped this shot today before this cloud dissipated but it did look like Mount Rainier was steaming and getting ready to erupt (with a little imagination!).
Mount Rainier is the largest mountain and volcano in the lower 48 states. It is in the Cascade Mountain Range, which runs from British Columbia to Northern California. Mount Rainier is about 65 miles from Olympia, WA. Should Mount Rainier erupt, it would be catastrophic not only because of its size but also because of the huge populations that live around the mountain.
Experts believe that the biggest devastation of an eruption wouldn’t come from the blast but would come from the massive mud flows (lahars) from the melting glaciers. These lahars would flow with such speed that towns surrounding Mount Rainier even as far away as Olympia, Tacoma, and Puyallup would be covered in 20 feet of mud and debris within an hour of the eruption.
But this potential threat doesn’t keep residents away from living near Mount Rainier. The last time Mount Rainier erupted was in 1894 when small summit explosions were observed. And lahars have reached the lower Puget Sound area on average every 500 to 1,000 years. The only way to escape a lahar is to get to higher ground.
As a native Washingtonian, I have grown up with the talk of Mount Rainier someday erupting, so maybe I’m very used to the idea, but this is not something I worry about, even when I see a cumulus cloud that looks like an ash cloud!
Mount Rainier is a stunningly beautiful mountain that I hope stays a mountain for a very long time. And I’m lucky that I’m about an hour and a half away from this magnificent national park. To learn more about Mount Rainier, visit its national park website at http://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm.
If you’d like to make Olympia your home, I can find you homes on high ground! Contact me today if relocating to this beautiful area is in your future.