Local woman recounts the 1968 tornado devastation

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - 44 years ago, a powerful F-4 tornado ravaged much of Jonesboro, killing 34 and injuring over 300.

Shortly before midnight on May 15th, 1968, the tornado destroyed numerous homes and businesses along Caraway Road, Wilkins Avenue, and Nettleton Avenue.
34 people were killed and over 300 injured.
Tammy Presley had just left Jonesboro a few days before, returning to St. Louis, MO, after a weekend trip to see her aunt and two cousins.
Tammy remembers immediately returning to Jonesboro after hearing of the tornado.

"When we drove down the street, up and down the street it was just like trash on each side. Couches, washers, dryers, everyone's clothes and everything just lying."

She found that the very family she visited over the weekend lost their lives.

"We found out that my aunt and two of her cousins had been killed in the tornado. And then we couldn't find my uncle and one of my other cousins."

Presley was 8 years old at the time, but the devastation is still etched into her mind to this day.

"The only thing left of their house was the 4 corner bricks on the foundation."

Presley says that because her uncle and cousin were injured, they were moved to Memphis.

"...because they didn't have enough room at Saint Bernards to handle everyone."

Although Jonesboro experienced destruction again in May 1973, Tammy never hopes to see what happened in 1968 again.

"It was just awful, just awful."

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