We were at a gospel meeting in Decatur on May 30, 2003 (about 25 miles from our home). We returned to Clinton about 9 PM. The wind was extreme on the highway, but we didn’t know anything about a tornado until we got 1/2 mile from our home (which was next door to the church building at the time). The southern most intersection in Clinton greeted us with downed stoplights and trees in the road. We were able to carefully manuever our way the rest of the way home. The 10 or so mature pine trees near the church building were all down blocking much of the road and parking lot. A significant portion of the roof to the church building had been damaged. Several buildings (200 yards away) were completely destroyed. Our home (the parsonage) had a window blown out and some roof damage. One neighbor’s trampoline was wadded up like a discarded piece of paper and remained crushed on top of the fence. Another neighbor’s double-wide garage door was sucked out of its proper place and partially lying in the driveway. There were many unusual sights. Amazingly, there were no emergency crews on the scene when we got home. We had missed driving into the tornado by less than 10 minutes and arrived on the scene before they did!
Insurance took care of everything nicely (State Farm). $70,000 damage to the church building (5 months to finish repairs). $6000 to our home (our house was the least damaged in the entire neighborhood). Some neighbors had to move out for months. The neighbors who were home at the time said it sounded like a freight train was going through the neighborhood. Millions of dollars of damage in the community; no fatalities thankfully.