Partly cloudy with a chance of volcanoes

The National Weather Service has issued a volcano watch for Southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia, and the mountainous parts of Tennessee and North Carolina.

A volcano watch means conditions are right for volcano development. Should a volcano develop in your area, make sure you are prepared for heavy ash fall, hot clouds of poisonous gas, and lava flows in excess of 60 miles per hour.

Never attempt to cross standing lava in your car.

When questioned about the likelihood of volcano development, a NWS spokeswoman said, “We didn’t think tornados were likely in this area either, but we had several of those this spring. Then in August we had an earthquake, followed by a hurricane in the same week.

At the National Weather Service, we believe that keeping citizens safe means being proactive in determining the threat level and keeping people informed.

In this case, we believe that the east coast is going for what we call the Natural Disaster Grand Slam, and that will have to include a volcanic eruption.”

The lack of active, or indeed any, volcanoes in the area should not lull people into a false sense of security. “We know that Pilot Mountain is an igneous formation, part of an ancient volcanic neck. We believe that could become active again.”

What can citizens expect if the southern Appalachians suddenly erupt in volcanoes?

Ms. Spokeswoman said the first signs are usually smoking holes in the ground not associated with any known steam pipes or college campuses.

Often the holes will grow rapidly larger, and this will be accompanied by earthquakes. In fact, last week’s earthquake near Mineral could be a volcano waking up.

It’s also important to be aware of dirt falling from the sky. Volcanoes throw up a great deal of ash and dust, which falls to the ground again, covering every available surface in a gritty film.

In the event that dirt starts to fall from the sky and it is not, in fact, from your neighbor’s lawnmower (he should never be mowing when it’s this dry), citizens should cover their mouths with handkerchiefs after the manner of the late Billy the Kid.

Ms. Spokesperson also stressed that the untrained average citizen should remain indoors for the duration of the eruption.

Trained scientific personnel know when to run, she said, while citizens just stand there and gawk. Please do not put yourself at risk, since emergency personnel will not be coming out in the height of the eruption.

If you have to evacuate to a Volcano Shelter, make sure you bring food, water, clothes, pets, and a sacrificial virgin, just in case.

Buildings designated as Volcano Shelters will have the familiar “Krakatoa” volcano sign on the walls, which will be eight feet thick and covered with sprinkler heads.

If there is no volcano shelter nearby, you are instructed to drive until you find one or until you are out of reach of the volcano threat.

Remember, in the height of volcano season, you need to keep a volcano kit nearby. This kit should include a flame-retardant suit, a fire extinguisher, and gas masks attached to a secure oxygen supply. The kit should also have a flashlight and batteries, just because.

If the volcano erupts in your back yard, do not endeavor to put it out with the fire extinguisher.

Remove yourself and your family from the premises as soon as possible, realizing that you probably will not be able to return home, ever. Take your medicines and valuables with you, and be sure to remember the family pet.

Please stay tuned for further volcano watch updates.



11 Responses to Partly cloudy with a chance of volcanoes

  1. Donna

    September 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for this update. It is important not to have a lackadaisical attitude about our impending doom. Thanks to the Southwest Times, I will sleep safely tonight knowing I am fully prepared by taking all precautions mentioned. Well, except the sacrificial virgin. Since you put that as a “just in case,” I didn’t think it was necessary to keep one in my basement on stand by, that just seems a little too extreme (not to mention torturous for the virgin), unlike the rest of your sound advice. I now have my volcano kit assembled, including the fire retardant suit and oxygen supply and am ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at me, even if it’s 5,000 degrees. I can’t thank you enough.

  2. Marvin Marietta

    September 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Sleep serenely tonight with your asbestos underwear.

  3. Jo Ann Hofheimer

    September 15, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Hilarious and dead-on. Well done, Pulaski.

  4. Buzzy Hofheimer

    September 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    What an informative article. I lava what the authors have to say – they rock!

  5. Karen Graham

    September 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I read with great interest your story about the volcanic activity here on the east coast and now feel better informed, although still a bit confused. I have had trouble putting together my ‘kit’. Living as I do in the capital city, Richmond, I have found that most people here don’t seem to be too upset at the thought of a mere volcano, having lived through an earthquake and Hurricane Irene,all within a weeks time. I was literally laughed out of the local Wal-Mart when I asked where the oxygen tanks were. Do you know of someplace that I could purchase some clean air, that’s not too far away?

  6. Kim Webster

    September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    HA! Can I get the suit at Sears, or do I need to go to a sporting goods store? Always pays to be prepared! Don’t forget wicking socks.

  7. mel andrews

    September 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    There are persons in this country that will take this as a real threat and RUN to the grocery store for survival supplies -Bread first then milk, GOD bless’em.

    • Webmaster

      September 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Sad, but true. We’ve actually put a footer/disclaimer directly to the right of the stories of our opinion columnists to prevent confusion – we don’t want do set off a panic in the way Wells did with his famous broadcast. We’ve received many great responses to this column both online and at the office, and are glad that today’s readers still enjoy satire and creative commentary. The unfortunate souls you refer to must already be residing in their volcano shelters, as we have heard from so few of them.

      Please keep sending in your comments!

      • mel andrews

        September 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm


  8. Sue

    September 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Wow. As a survivor of the Pulaski tornado and the earthquake, I knew there was more yet to come, but I had trouble putting my finger on exactly what it was.. snakes, locust, giant squid, now we know. Volcanoes! Of course! Fire raining from the sky. It was on the tip of my brain. Now I can put away the harpoons and insect traps and get my fire suit ready. Just one problem with the oxygen recommendation though. You know oxygen is extremely flammable, right? That’s the trouble with preparedness recommendations from government authorities. You always get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, they’re trying to make sure they survive while exterminating most of the rest of the world. That’s so they can repopulate the earth with intelligent people. The rest of us certainly aren’t intelligent enough to get it right. Wait, I got off-subject. Volcanoes.. yes, that’s it for sure! I’m thinking of digging a moat around my home and filling it with flame retardant material, think that would work? Isn’t there some new stuff that can protect from fire and heat to something like 10 bazillion degrees? I saw it on the Discovery Channel… I gotta get some of that stuff.

  9. Wally Holston

    November 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    What? The survival kit didn’t mention plastic sheeting and masking tape for the windows. How are we going to to repel the radioactive fallout from TMI. What’s a person to do?

    Wally Holston
    Asheboro, NC

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