about the storm I told you hit southern Illinois on May 8, 2009. Caused awful damage. It is a new storm category now. New Storm Category: Link to Story The windstorm that's become synonymous with the date May 8, 2009, in Southern Illinois has been classified by weather authorities as a new type of storm. Officials at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., have classified what happened last year as "super derecho," a classification unique to the already established term, derecho, which has been used for more than 100 years in describing weather phenomena involving straight-line winds. The May 8 storm was unlike anything most weather experts had seen, with an intense vortex and eye-like structure, giving the storm an appearance similar to a hurricane. The storm tore through Kansas and Missouri before descending on Southern Illinois, ravaging much of the area, killing one man in Murphysboro. Power was out in some areas of the region for weeks after the storm and thousands of trees fell, significantly altering some areas of the landscape. Justin Schoof, an assistant professor of geography and environmental resources at Southern Illinois University Carbondale who has studied the May 8 storm, said it's rare a weather event, no matter how strong, generates a new classification. "It's nice that they recognized the intensity of that storm," Schoof said. "The major difference between our derecho and other derechos was the size of that bookend vortex. It's usually eight to 10 miles wide; ours was about 30 to 40." Schoof continues to use the storm as an example of unique weather phenomena in his class. "It was a very important local event, and I do know there are scientists studying the storm very carefully, trying to figure out which elements of it could be forecast in advance," he said. Having its own classification will help toward that end, but more years of research are going to be needed, he added. It's unlikely, Schoof said, scientists will get very many "super derechos" to examine. "Just because it's been classified, I don't suspect you are going to see a lot of super derechos," he said. "I don't think it's going to make it a more common event."