Storms across the state Tuesday night left a path of wreckage behind them Wednesday morning. In Clinton, the city's airport got the brunt of the tornado's force. City officials and private owners alike sifted through the wreckage to assess the extent of the damage.
"Just this side [of the county] alone is almost $7 million in damages, counting the buildings and all the equipment inside," Custer County Emergency Manager Mike Galloway said.
The high-speed, destructive winds touched about every structure at the airport. Some were more damaged than others.
The entrance at the airport's main building had holiday decorations before the storm, now the ceiling lights dangle.
"Of the aviation related equipment, we have not been able to reenergize those yet to confirm damage on those yet or not," Clinton City Manager Robert Johnston said. "The radio tower was bent in half and some other damage, but a lot of flying metal."
Crews cleaned up big and small scraps of metal that littered the airport grounds. A lot of it looked to come from the airplane hangars.
"I was shocked because it looked like it blew one of the doors I think is over there. If the airplane had been there, it would have smashed it," private owner Carolyn Schumacher said.
Luckily, her plane was in Texas for routine maintenance.
"Our damage is minimal compared to Mr. Grubb over there. Theirs is just flattened and everything's everywhere," she said.
The other owner's hangar she mentioned had two planes inside, both are mangled.
Carolyn said she counted her blessings after she learned everyone was safe.
"It may not look like it to some people, but nobody was hurt. I know there's a lot of damage, but it's all replaceable. People aren't."
Airport officials said they will reopen at some point after the debris is cleared, and all the equipment is checked out and functional.