April 10, 2013 I was out in the hangar at the Clinton Airport. It was late, not quite quitting time, and the weather was looking pretty bad. Storm clouds were popping up, you could hear thunder.
Will Dawson, the boss, came out.
“You might want to think about heading home.”
He’d been watching the weather map (airplanes, essentially weather vanes that can fly, require you to pay close attention to the weather) and it was looking bad and coming in fast. I didn’t need to, Will told me, wait ‘til 5 to get out there. It was fixin’ to get bad.
He was right.
The drive home to Conway was itself memorable. The light rain (big drops) across Bee Branch Mountain was a torrent by Greenbrier and wind-driven by the time the car was in park in Conway.
Van Buren County got it worse. They still talk about it at Botkinburg. Pastor Rocky Thomas opened service Sunday with aftermath pictures of that day. The church was in shambles, the house next to it as well. Down the bluff behind Botkinburg Foursquare you can still see bits of twisted metal where the wind pushed things around. Ten houses on Watergate Road, across from the church, were gone. Over 50 homes in the county were damaged, with four injuries reported.
It was, the National Weather Service said later, an EF2 tornado, touching down in Scotland and running for 17 miles.
Five years ago this week.