Paul Conner was sitting up in his recliner shortly before 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday, unable to sleep because of persistent knee pains, when he first realized that an approaching storm might be bringing more than anyone had been expecting.
“I was sitting right there where that bookcase is at, in that blue recliner and Harvey, our little dog was sitting in my lap” Conner said, pointing into the kitchen and den area of his home that was by now a room without a front wall and no roof.
What Conner was about to experience was a storm system that came through the Beech Bottom Community of southern Clinton County early Wednesday morning, producing winds strong enough to completely level a large barn situated just across Ky. 415 from his house, cause heavy damage to an adjacent garage, completely destroy a nearby greenhouse building and practically destroy the portion of his family’s brick home where the kitchen and den were located.
Conner’s wife, Kathy, told the Clinton County News that the wind from the storm blew out the large window near where her husband and the family dog were sitting in the recliner, and picked up the chair her husband was sitting in, moving it down the hall and out of the way of the flying debris that would soon follow through the den and then the kitchen.
“I heard it coming and it sounded like a freight train and it blew a two by six from that barn right through here,” Conner said. “The good Lord had something else intended for me.”
Conner pointed to a refrigerator that had been moved by the winds and debris from the nearby barn that was blowing through his house during the few short seconds that the destruction occurred.
It didn’t take long for word to spread about the damage that the Conner family had suffered during the early morning storm, and within a few hours, the property surrounding the home was bustling with family, friends, neighbors and a host of members from the church they attend, the Albany First Baptist Church.
With chainsaws buzzing on the outside, broken trees were soon being cleared and scattered brick, roofing material and lumber was being removed from the yard and adjacent hillside.
The barn that was destroyed across the road from the Conner house was on property owned by Donnie Poore.
Others worked inside, moving the Conner possessions from the heavily damaged kitchen area, which could best be described as an open-air room without a front wall and no roof overhead.
Kathy Conner made her way around the house holding a collection of items she had retrieved from the back yard, making her way back inside what was left of her home to pack the rescued figurines away.
All the while, both Paul and Kathy Conner smiled and joked with others working to help retrieve possessions, move kitchen items to other areas and try to clear the yard of the debris that had left the property looking like a war zone.
Both Paul and Kathy Conner acknowledged that they were thankful that no one was injured.
The damage that occurred to the structures around the Conner home seemed to be a fairly isolated incident.
Clinton County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Director Lonnie Scott told the Clinton County News that as of press time, he still had not received any notification from the National Weather Service concerning the classification of the winds that caused the property damage last week.
Scott said representatives from the NWS would be the ones responsible for determining whether or not the damage was caused by a tornado or by straight line winds.
He added that there had been a few reports from other areas of the county that involved mostly trees that had been damaged or uprooted, and one report of some roof damage to a barn that belonged to Wayne Beaty on the Asberry Road, which is just southwest of the Conner property.
Additional minor structure damage and damage to some large trees also occurred on Thursday night when another storm system with heavy rains and strong winds moved across Clinton County, but no serious damage to any structures has been reported as a result of that storm.