I didn’t realize that I would be speaking on the anniversary of the May 8th storm until Russell Williams pointed it out to me the other day. It’s amazing how time flies by and we forget. I remember the day quite clearly, which is surprising because I have such a bad memory. My wife even bought me a shirt that says “Out of Memory” on it.
As the storm crossed the Mississippi River it strengthened greatly. Numerous buildings were severely damaged or destroyed throughout southern Illinois. Immediately after the storm struck, Carbondale was reported to be virtually impassable due to the amount of debris on roadways. Marion, Murphysboro, Grand Tower, Johnston City, Herrin, Energy, and Carterville all declared curfews and states of emergency due to power outages and the massive amounts of damage caused by the storms. Some of these cities were even left without water due to the power outages. In the city of Carbondale, damage was estimated at $3,000,000, excluding damage at Southern Illinois University. Officials deemed 34 buildings a “total loss” and reported that 3,000 trees were fell throughout the city. (more…)