About 8:30 in the morning of May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens exploded. Within hours all of eastern Washington, including the Yakima Valley, was deluged with volcanic ash. Heavier, sand-like particles fell near the Cascades, lighter ash drifted farther east. In Yakima, streetlights came on at midday, triggered by the darkening sky. Cars stalled, their air filters clogged. Within hours residents began the clean-up, shoveling ash from rooftops, driveways, and sidewalks. Yakima still observes the blast’s anniversary with a citywide “Greenup-Cleanup” campaign. One positive outcome: the rich soil got a replenishing dose of ash.

From an idea suggested by Bill Rich.