Preparing for a Mt. Rainier Eruption
Mt. Rainier, located in Washington State, has been predicted to have a major eruption in the near future for quite some time now. Experts, such as volcanologists, geologists, and climate scientists agree that Mt. Rainier is actually overdue for a major eruption. The last known eruption, although not recorded, was roughly between 400 and 500 years ago passed down from the local native tribes that described the events. Research has concluded that yes a major eruption did occur around this time helping to carve out the many highways and freeways that exist today from previous lahars. As well as a few minor eruptions have occurred since the 1800’s but nothing significant enough to cause any damage or to ignite an evacuation.
Nowadays it is even more important to be continuously preparing for a Mt. Rainier eruption because of the amount of people that have moved to the locations that surround the base of the mountain. More than 80,000 people reside in direct paths of destruction if Mt. Rainier were to erupt. Towns such as Tacoma, Seattle, Orting and even Olympia will face challenges directly from a Mt. Rainier eruption that could forever change the landscape of the region. As well as many residents face death if they are not continuously preparing for a Mt. Rainier eruption.
Tools, Supplies and Travel
In many instances the best chances of survival will be to evacuate in case of a Mt. Rainier eruption. The lahars and ash fall will easily make their way over 50 miles to major metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Tacoma and even Olympia. Although the major freeways and highways are built on the previous lahars from Mt. Rainier’s last eruption it can be assumed that these major roadways, such as I5 and 512, will be covered in lahars blocking residents from leaving the area almost immediately.
In case evacuation is not possible it is necessary to stockpile supplies such as clean drinking water and food. Be sure to also stock up on gas masks and filters as the ash fall will be determined only on the direction of the wind pattern the day of a Mt. Rainier eruption. Staying indoors would be your best bet of survival if only located outside of the immediate destruction zone. However, if located any closer to Mt. Rainier or directly in a lahars path seeking shelter elsewhere will be your only chance of survival. Fortunately the state of Washington is prepared with evacuation sites and temporary housing facilities in case of an unexpected eruption from Mt. Rainier.
The damages caused by a Mt. Rainier eruption will be staggering. The immediate towns such as Orting located directly at the base of the volcano will face almost complete annihilation from large debris and lahars. Once the majority of the lahars mix into the Puyallup river than the lahars will travel further westward reaching towns such as Lakewood, Tacoma, Seattle and eventually Olympia. The lahars will destroy everything in their path reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. The estimated damage from a Mt. Rainier eruption has been predicted to be in the billions and may take up to 10 years to recover the infrastructure.
Ash fall will also devastate the region. Depending on wind pattern the ash fall is expected to poison the majority of the natural bodies of waters including the lakes and rivers causing water to become undrinkable. As well as the ash fall will eradicate most crops and farms in the area as far as Yakima and Spokane. This will also devastate most wild life in the areas surrounding Mt. Rainier as well as livestock and cattle. Unless precautions are made beforehand when preparing for a Mt. Rainier eruption much life could be loss even if not directly in the path of lahars or major debris.