Finding a new path in West Liberty after the 2012 tornado outbreak

Published: Mar. 2, 2017 at 6:48 PM EST
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"It's hard to believe five years has gone by."

To the outside eye, it might be hard to spot tornado damage in West Liberty. Dr. Clifford Smith's chiropractic business is one of the places the EF3 tornado that hit on March 2, 2012, ripped apart. He remembers seeing it.

"When I got up to the corner I could see it coming right over the hospital there, on top of the hill," Dr. Smith said.

Three staff members and some patients rode out the storm in the x-ray room, and Dr. Smith's father who first started the business nearly sixty years ago was upstairs.

"When it took the top of the building off, he said stuff was flying around. It picked him up and threw him into the concrete wall."

Sadly, Dr. Smith lost his father just a week later. But, the clock his father cherished that sat just outside the practice is frozen in time. It stopped at exactly 5:53 about five minutes before the EF3 tornado slammed into West Liberty. It is an eerie reminder of something many in this community thought could never happen here.

"My father always preached that a tornado will never come to this area. He said it would never get down in these mountains."

Dr. Smith says he was able to get his practice back up and running exactly 60 days after the storm.