Estimates of destruction are 92% of the town.

– This sun-baked High Plains town no longer has a grade school, a high school, a City Hall, a hospital, a water tower, a fire station, a business district or a main street.

It has people, but all 1,400 of them live elsewhere today. The homes they kept, the rooms where they were born, where they grew old together, now lie in millions of pieces, some of them as small as matchsticks. Tatters and shards of Greensburg flew for miles across the shortgrass and sage and yucca outside town on Friday night. Their branches now hold the shreds of housing insulation, pieces of tin, pieces of twisted roofing, crumpled family photographs, torn documents, and bits and pieces of belongings.

Macabre “Eyes of The Storm.” Aerial Photographs from Greensburg, Kansas

4 May, 2007 Record Storm – length 22 miles, width 1.5-1.75 miles, winds 200+ mph,

15-20 minutes

Survivors crawling out saw overturned and broken-open trucks, cracked windshields, and square mile after square mile of twisted aluminum, shredded insulation and splintered debris. Rescuers in daylight saw foundations pulverized close to the topsoil. Residents say the meteorologists and the town sirens gave them 20 minutes to run or take shelter. Rescuers, driving into town, lost tires to the thousands of nails and jagged edges that now litter the streets.

There are roadblocks outside of town, to keep gawkers and souvenir hunters out. They will have to keep heartbroken residents outside of town for a little while, too.The town was evacuated so that rescuers could sort through the wreckage and make sure everyone, living and dead, is accounted for. The Kiowa County courthouse still stands. The grain elevator still stands. The water tower, as a highway patrol trooper said, “is not just down — it is completely destroyed.”

THE BEST WAY TO HELP

The Red Cross says the best way you can help is financial contributions. If you’d like to give, you can call 1-800-RedCross or visit their website at www.redcross.org. You can also mail a contribution to the local chapter at:

Red Cross
Kansas Capital Area Chapter
1221 SW 17th St.
Topeka, KS 66604

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