May 18, 2010

Witness to History: KING 5 Meteorologists Relive the Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Jeff Renner hosts
"Mount St. Helens: 30 Years Later"

Airing Tuesday, May 18th at 7:30 PM on KING 5

SEATTLE, WASH. - At 8:32 AM on Sunday, May 18th, 1980, a blast of hot black ash erupted from Mount St. Helens. The volcano's explosive force killed dozens of people, knocked down trees as if they were matchsticks and spewed a dense cloud of ash that turned some of the Washington skyline from day into night. Thirty years later, KING 5 Meteorologists Jeff Renner and Rich Marriott still recall the moments of that day.

On Tuesday, May 18th 2010 at 7:30 PM, Jeff and Rich bring those vivid memories back to the life for the half-hour KING 5 News anniversary special: "Mount St. Helens: 30 Years Later". KING 5 Chief Meteorologist and host Jeff Renner takes viewers back to an epic day in Washington State history that captured the attention of the nation with images of buried rivers, billowy black clouds of volcanic ash, houses and bridges destroyed, and devastated forest lands.

"In 1980 I was KING 5's science reporter and became the station's chief reporter on the Mount St. Helens eruption. Talk about the assignment of a lifetime!" said Jeff Renner.

KING 5's Rich Marriott was a meteorologist for the U.S. Forest Service Northwest Mountain Weather and Avalanche Forecast Center when St. Helens loudly woke up in 1980. He served as an extra set of eyes for search and rescue flights four days after the explosion and went airborne with NBC's Chris Wallace to be a tour guide for the transformed blast area. Rich will share his St. Helens eyewitness account on the anniversary special.

The April eruption of a volcano in Iceland affected the lives of more than a million travelers but did not come close to the loss of life and devastation of the Mount St. Helens blast.

Additional stories:

- Jeff Renner shares new volcano research helping scientists explain what causes volcanic activity

- KING 5 Reporter Allen Schauffler reports on the man who survived the blast trapped for days on the devastated landscape.

- KING 5 Environmental Reporter Gary Chittim shows the surprising resurgence of life and recent growth in the ecosystem.

- Incredible views from SkyKing of the rim of the crater, Spirit Lake and evidence of the destruction that remains today.

Northwest Cable News (NWCN) airs KING 5's St. Helens 30th anniversary special on May 18th at 9:00 PM with a replay at 10:30 PM. Comcast carries NWCN on cable channel 2 throughout the Puget Sound region. Check NWCN channel listings for other local video providers.

Jeff anchors KING 5 News at 5:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM and 11:00 PM. In 2009, he became the first local broadcaster in the Seattle market to earn the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) designation from the American Meteorological Society. He was recently honored by the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) for his work and that of the KING 5 weather team in helping reduce air pollution by including air quality updates and burn bans in daily KING 5 weather casts.

Meteorologist Rich Marriott's weather reports begin before sunrise. He anchors the 4:30 - 7:00 AM KING 5 Early Morning News and the 7:00 - 9:00 AM KING 5 Morning News on KONG 6/16. Prior to joining KING 5, Marriott was a meteorologist for the U.S. Forest Service and Avalanche Forecast Center. He has also worked as a research fellow in the UCLA Department of Meteorology and published numerous research papers in scientific journals.

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Rick Swanson
Director of Programming
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