Tornadoes tear through nation; businesses prepare to dig out
As many as 42 people were feared dead across the Midwest and South, with damage estimates in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Businesses were still unreachable in the town of Stockton, Mo., where a twister inflicted massive damage across the entire community of 2,000 residents. According to wire reports, storefronts were in ruin, two banks were destroyed and much of the community was under rubble. Similar damage was sustained across several counties.
Western Tennessee was also struck by twisters. Jackson, located in Madison County, was one of those hardest hit. According to Gary Deaton, owner of Deaton's Carpet One in Jackson and chairman of the Madison County Commission, the downtown area was devastated.
"All the floor covering stores are intact, except for Foster Floor Center, which is downtown," Deaton said. "Downtown homes and businesses are wiped out."
Deaton estimated that between 1,500 to 2,500 buildings were hit, with the largest damage sustained to businesses and government offices. Rural areas were also hit hard, he said.
"I've been here for 50 years, and I have never in my life seen anything like this," Deaton said. "Right now we're doing a lot of tearing out and cleaning up. Building temporaries, getting the lights back on. We're helping people any way that we can, helping them get back on their feet."
Deaton said it is too early to know the impact the twisters will have on businesses in his area, but that "business is definitely going to be different for the next several months."
Tornadoes also damaged a large swath of southeastern Kansas on May 4. The state was hit again on May 8, where as many as seven funnel clouds tore roofs off houses and inflicted more damage on already shaken communities. Tornadoes were seen as far west as Colorado on May 8.