In only a few weeks, Courierarea residents will joins thousands of other Midwesterners in observing the anniversary of the horrific tornadoes that ripped through their communities on April 3, 1974.

Yes, it's been 40 years since that day of storms that claimed hundreds of lives - 10 here in Jefferson County - and millions of dollars in damage.

Incredibly, it could have been much worse.

As our staff has sifted through newspaper coverage of the tornadoes, we're amazed that more people didn't lose their lives.

From the devastation at the Southwestern schools to the wide swath of rubble through the city, the pictures remind us of the power a tornado can pack.

In a few weeks, The Madison Courier will publish stories and photos of individuals whose lives were affected by the tornadoes.

Our reporters are talking with individuals who survived the tornadoes. Their stories are incredible and inspiring.

We would like your help with our tornado anniversary coverage.

If you have a story or photos you would like to share, we will add them to our coverage.

All you need to do is mail or email us your information. Our address is: The Madison Courier, 310 West St., Madison, IN 47250. Or, email us at weather@madisoncourier.com

In the 40 years that have passed we've learned so much about predicting weather patterns, but we have learned many times over that this area will never be immune from tornadoes.

Every family should use this anniversary to review safety procedures - especially families with young children and senior citizens.