On January 27, 2009, Bernie, along with most of Southeast Missouri, began receiving what amounted to over four inches of snow and ice. Power, cable, and telephone lines and poles quickly snapped due to the weight of the heavy ice. Along with these lines and poles, fallen trees and limbs soon blocked roadways and driveways. Bernie residents were left in the dark, without heat and water.
Heavy ice not only destroyed trees, but left Bernie almost unrecognizable.
These pictures show various areas around Bernie that were overcome with inches of ice.
Bernie citizens, businesses, city officials, employees, and emergency personnel quickly banded together and helped each other through what was one of the biggest disasters Bernie has ever experienced.
As quickly as the morning after the ice storm hit, the Bernie Community Center was opened as a warming shelter for victims of the storm who were left without electricity and heat. Volunteers spend countless hours cooking and delivering meals to those in need. Food was made available to those housed in the community center through donations from individuals and churches. Town & Country Supermarket made itself available so that the City could purchase much needed food and supplies.
Bernie was only out of water for less than 12 hours thanks to this generator the Mayor picked up in Memphis.
TH Transport provided a reefer unit so that the school's food would not ruin because of the power outage. The Bernie Police Department helped to deliver meals to shut-ins as well as did a door to door security check to make sure Bernie residents were safe. The Fire Department conducted security checks on the rural houses in its fire district. The City's maintenance department worked hard helping to clear roads of debris and ice. AmerenUE worked night and day in the cold icy weather to make sure that Bernie had electricity restored as soon as possible.
Volunteers delivered water to victims of the storm
Over one thousand meals were served during the near week Bernie residents were without electricity.
Bernie residents band together in a time of crisis
Photo showing cots donated to Community Center where those in need of housing slept. Residents were even given the opportunity to watch the SuperBowl thanks to the use of a satellite. Area ministers provided church services on Sunday.
The Winter Ice Storm of 2009 proved, if nothing else, that Bernie is full of kind generous people who work together to take care of each other. While there is no way it is possible to acknowledge and thank all these people, Mayor Tilmon said it best in this letter to the Bernie Banner: