© 2024 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: The Blizzard Of '79

Blizzard of 79
Southeast Missouri State University
Blizzard of 79

It seems like almost yesterday that Southeast Missouri was hit with it's biggest blizzard of the 20th Century. Editor John Blue of the Southeast Missouriancalled it a "new yardstick in weather history." To this day, however, residents of Southeast Missouri call it the "Blizzard of '79."

The storm roared into Southeast Missouri on Saturday night and stayed through Sunday, February 26, 1979. A heavy rain turned to snow during the night and deposited twenty four inches of snow in the next fifteen hours. The temperature hovered around thirty degrees, the wind gusted to fifty miles per hour and snow was piled into drifts ten feet deep.

Thousands of residents of the region lost electrical power, I-55 was closed from Sikeston to Perryville for five days. National guardsmen brought in helicopters to serve as emergency vehicles. At Southeast Missouri State University, the snow forced the cancellation of classes for four straight days. Students gathered at pizzerias and bars and soon dried Cape Girardeau of its last drops of alcohol. Growing cabin fever prompted University President Robert Leestamper to announce that classes would be held on Friday, regardless of weather conditions.

The "Blizzard of '79" set many records. John Blue summarized the event when he wrote, "Weather records hereafter will use this as their reference point and what a point it is." It seems like Almost Yesterday. 

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
Related Content
  • It seems like almost yesterday that the most devastating tornado in American history passed through Southeast Missouri. The F-5 tornado first touched down in Reynolds County, west of Ellington and stayed on the ground for approximately 220 miles, for three and one-half hours, crossing southern Missouri and Illinois, finally dissipating in southern Indiana.
  • It seems like almost yesterday that “Big Red” made its last run on the Frisco Railroad Line from St. Louis to Memphis, Tennessee. In September of 1965 the…
  • It seems like almost yesterday that the steamboat the "The Stonewall" burned and sank just south of Neely's Landing, Missouri. It was October 27, 1869 and the sidewheeler "The Stonewall" was travelling south on the Mississippi with tons of cargo -- about 300 passengers, 200 head of livestock -- bound for Cape Girardeau, Memphis and New Orleans.