YAKIMA, Wash. - "We were literally buried in ash," said Yakima resident Maria Villalobos.
Maria Villalobos a Yakima resident for over 39-years, remembers getting ready for church around 9 a.m. on May 18, 1980, when all of a sudden she heard a loud noise.
"Very strong and very deep as far as the sound was concerned," said Villalobos.
Villalobos experienced what she calls a "once in a lifetime phenomenon", the eruption of Mount St. Helens.
What she thought was going to be a regular sunny day in the valley turned into a day of darkness.
"Everything all of a sudden was dark and there was this fine rain that it was not water it was this dust very fine dust," said Villalobos.
That dust covering the entire Yakima valley that's about 90 miles from the volcano.
Villalobos looking back at the chaos.
"There was a bunch of people especially the elderly crying they were very very scared," said Villalobos.
Many worried about the outcome.
"They were even saying you know this is the end of the world," added Villalobos.
Mount St. Helens left its mark, killing about 57 people, destroyed homes, and for many it took weeks to pick up the mess left behind.
"We were isolated for at least a week because the government had to react," said Villalobos.
Villalobos grateful to be alive and able to share her experience.
"You just do what you can for the day and survive," said Villalobos.
Since the 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens erupted again in 2004 and went through a period of volcanic activity that ended in 2008.
This year, swarms of deep earthquakes have taken place, however, the U.S. geological survey said there's no direct indication another eruption is imminent.
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