An F2 tornado near Wentzville, Missouri in 1974

To fully understand the wrath of one of Mother Nature‘s tornadoes, you need to walk along South Jefferson Street in Pulaski and look at the carnage left by the F2 twister that struck the town 10 days ago on April 8.

Twisted metal, destroyed homes and shattered lives line the street and the storm left a big gash on the side of Draper Mountain. Incredibly, no one died in the fury of the storm and the few injuries were minor, a blessing in a season where last weekend’s storms left at least 45 dead from more than 100 tornadoes that swept through the South.

But South Jefferson and other areas around the street are a disaster area in Pulaski. I walked the street Monday as work crews with chain saws worked to clear the debris and struggled to clear away the damage from just a few minutes of nature’s wrath.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell finally visited the storm site Sunday — more than a week after the tornado struck — an incredibly stupid delay in responding to the disaster that hit the town. Perhaps he was waiting for permission of the tea party. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t play well with the residents of Pulaski, who expressed open anger and hostility.

“Where has that son of a bitch been? He should have been here on April 9th,” said a pissed-off Pulaski resident named Sam who wielded a chain saw and helped his neighbors clean up what was left of their home. “I’d vote for the devil himself before I’d ever cast a vote for that asshole McDonnell.”

I heard a lot of similar anger Monday afternoon. I’m not surprised that McDonnell sat on his ass.  He has been a lackluster governor from the beginning.

I pitched in and helped clear debris Monday afternoon, working until I felt twinges in my recently-injured back. I plan to return and help more.

Tornadoes were a fact of life when Amy and I lived in the Midwest. I shot many photos of twisters while working for The Alton Telegraph but we never expected to see tornadoes at our back door here in the mountains.

Those who claim climate change is a myth have their head up their butts. The climate is changing and weather is becoming more extreme and more violent.

If you need proof, go see for yourself and visit Pulaski. Bring some work gloves. They need the help.

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