A Letter From The Publisher, Jun. 2, 1980

When Mount St. Helens began spewing chaos and destruction across the Northwest last week, TIME correspondents and photographers rushed to the scene — and could barely believe what they found. "It was beyond anything in my experience," said Correspondent Paul Witteman, who flew over the volcano for this week's cover story. "The whole terrain had been altered by the force of the explosion, and maps were next to useless." Cor respondent James Willwerth found the roads to one especially hard-hit town — Ritzville, Wash. — closed for 50 miles in every direction, so...

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