Surprise -- Washington does have sunshine --- and it is fabulous! We enjoyed a whole day of sunshine as we drove to, viewed and enjoyed ranger talks at Mt St. Helen.
We visited Mt St. Helen a few years after it erupted and saw the devastation. In more than 20 years -- Mother Nature is mending. Trees replanted are growing tall. Even the areas left to come back naturally are making great progress. Animals, aquatic life, insects are all coming back and flourishing -- more than every anticipated.
Some interesting statistics: area of destruction was 223 sq miles (the size of Chicago land). The blast spewed rock, pumice, dust, debrie at a force the speed of sound (more than 800 miles / hr). The force of the plum into the air was like an atomic blast every 1.5 seconds for a total of ~10 minutes. The flow of debride was often more than 600' deep.