Home > small towns, weather > Tornado Devastates Greensburg

Tornado Devastates Greensburg

May 5th, 2007 at 7:24 am

(As the day goes on, I’ll make additions/corrections to this post.)

A half-mile wide tornado destroyed large sections of Greensburg (pop. 1,495) at about 9:45 p.m. last night.

The story from the Wichita Eagle.

Video is available from KAKE TV news.

Nearly the entire town (structure-wise, anyway) has been wiped out. Every building in town suffered some damage they say. The schools are destroyed, the downtown is gone, the hospital collapsed.

Emergency workers from across the state have arrived. The Kansas National Guard has been deployed to Greensburg. The entire town has been evacuated to shelters in neighboring towns such as Haviland.

A section of Hwy U.S. 54 is closed.

The same tornado system also caused damage to St. John, Hudson, Macksville, Ellinwood, Claflin and Bushton. Maybe other areas as well. Wichita TV stations have wall-to-wall coverage, but are focused on Greensburg, so I’m not getting news about these other towns.

The numbers are being updated, but I’ve heard reports of three seven fatalities and at least 60 people injured in last night’s tornado. There were apparently a couple tornadoes. One was a mile wide at times.

Here’s a map of the storm’s path.

HEADS UP: a strong possibility for more severe weather exists in Kansas this afternoon and evening.

Communication in the affected area is minimal – cell phone towers are down, power lines are down.

UPDATE, 13:30:

The Hutch News has a bit of information about damage in Barton County.

Sen. Pat Roberts and Reps. Jerry Moran Todd Tiahrt are on the scene in Greensburg. (Maybe others are there too.)

FEMA is on the way. Woo-wee.

Two more bodies were found in the rubble in Greensburg. Nine dead. Including a Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy.
(Apparently this wasn’t true.)


Dave Freeman, Chief Meteorologist with KSNW- TV in Wichita, said that in some places the path of destruction was ONE AND A HALF miles wide. “That will swallow up a town,” he said.

“It’s juicy,” Freeman said, describing the hot, moist air – holding the potential for another round of severe weather this afternoon and evening.

Not only were leaves torn from trees, but the bark was stripped from some trees.


The Pratt hospital has treated 76 people, 14 are still in the hospital. Nine are in the Dodge City hospital and 5 in the Wichita hospital, including a Macksville police officer who was critically injured.


Sen. Pat Roberts talked on the air about what he called “complete destruction.”

“I gave a commencement at that school. I can’t even find the school,” Roberts said.

One building is still standing. The Kiowa County Courthouse apparently has only minor damage. It is being used the command post.

Monetary donations can be made at any Kansas Dillons store – just have them add on the amount to your bill. Or contributions can be made to the Red Cross.


small towns, weather

  1. Flips
    May 5th, 2007 at 10:00 | #1

    Wow————thanks for letting us know———-we only get Joplin, Mo. as our local news on our Dish———we had not heard anything!!!!!!

  2. englishbloke
    May 5th, 2007 at 12:04 | #2

    Wow… stay safe everyone: devastating.

  3. May 5th, 2007 at 15:19 | #3

    I wish I had words. It’s overwhelming to see on tv and overwhelming to read about.

  4. May 5th, 2007 at 16:34 | #4

    I’m just sick over this. Been offline/outside all day and am just now hearing the news. Spent some time with a client in Greensburg just the last time I went to western Kansas. Spoke to her partner on the phone yesterday morning. Now it sounds like their entire business might be gone!

  5. englishbloke
    May 5th, 2007 at 18:18 | #5

    It’s the third story on the BBC news here in UK right now… hope not too many readers have family or friends in Greensburg. Appalling disaster for that town.

    …but great for TV news editors around the world: “US town devastated! Hardly any dead! But we have loads of brilliant cheap video, including a tornado in Oklahoma last week that we can pass off as the same one that hit Greeensburg!”

    Who’d work in the media, eh.

  6. heineken160
    May 5th, 2007 at 21:00 | #6

    Simon, I appreciate your posts and I’m glad England does not have these things.