PETERSBURG, Ind. (WEHT) As we approach the six-month anniversary of the December 10th tornado in western Kentucky, today marks the 32nd anniversary of the killer tornado that hit Petersburg, Indiana on a Saturday night.
The tornado that hit on this day in 1990 killed six people in the Petersburg area. 32 years later, residents still remember what their recovery was like, and the lessons others still going through in western Kentucky can learn from.
“As soon as you think about what day it is, it sure comes back to you,” said Petersburg Mayor R.C. Klipsch. For him, Silas Ashley, and former mayor Randy Harris, the details of that day, and their recovery, are still fresh in their minds.
“I came home and everything I had was gone,” Ashley said.
“We had so many of our neighbors that came to our aid to help pick up the pieces,” Harris recalled.
The F4 tornado claimed the lives of six people in Petersburg, destroying 168 homes, and damaging hundreds of other buildings. It hit just after eight the night of June second, weeks after the town was hit with a separate disaster.
“Two or three weeks prior to that, we had, because of flooding, we had no water in Petersburg. The main line was broken and we had no water for a couple of weeks, and on top of that was a tornado. So, we had a period where we didn’t have water or electricity for a period of time,” Mayor Klipsch recalled.
The recovery varied among the survivors.
“it probably took me five years to get back everything,” said Ashley.
As Dawson Springs, Bremen and other communities hit on December 10th keep rebuilding, Petersburg tornado survivors say they learned the recovery takes a long time, and that it takes patience and perseverance.
“people just persevered. They didn’t let it get them down, they didn’t let it stop them. They didn’t wait for the government to come do it for them,” said Harris.
Ashley also said while rebuilding his house, he had a tornado shelter built in, which he adds he and his family used a few times since they rebuilt.
(This story was originally published on June 2, 2022)