Mount St. Helens On Alert 3 Status

Interior Secretary Gale Norton has flown over Mount St. Helens to view the volcanic activity.    She says the biggest concern is about the amount of ash that will spew from eruptions, especially how it will concern aircraft travel.

Norton says the chances have increased for eruptions or lava flow, and that moderate ash eruptions are most likely.  Government scientists raised the alert level for Mount St. Helens after its second steam eruption in two days was followed by a powerful tremor.

Hundreds of observers who were asked to move farther way complied quickly. Scientists say the volcano is now capable of causing some damage, but not approaching the devastation left by the 1980 blast.  Fifty-seven people died and much of the northwest was coated with ash.