Storm Chasing 2007
05-20-2007
Greenburg, KS - Town hit by EF-5

This year while storm chasing, we were allowed into Greenburg, KS where a F-5 tornado hit and destroyed the town.  There are not words to describe the total devastation to the town.  The town has been sealed off since the tornado hit on the night of May 5, 2007.  There were 10 people killed and multiple others killed.  The tornado came at around 9:45pm and night time made the rescue efforts hard.  We did meet a man who had a heart attack that evening after the tornado, and the ambulance took him to the hospital only to find the hospital was totally destroyed.  Greenburg was known for the largest hand dug well in the US.  The population was 1574 people.  Of all the towns building, on 2 are left that can be used.  The grain silos in town were where a number of people went and found safety.  Greenburg was the county seat of Kiowa County.  It is now not known as to what will become of the town.  Relief came from all over, and a police officer from Dodge City which is about 20 miles away, was rushing to help when he drove into the tornado, his car was crumpled and thrown 300 yards into a field.  He was taken off life support the next day and passed away.  He was one of 10 people who died.  Relief workers came to Greenburg to help get the town cleaned up.  From speaking with a survivor, the trucks started hauling away debris to a site where everything is being burned.  There were 2400 truckloads a day for the first 2 weeks, and they were going to drop back to 1400 truckloads starting the day we got to town.   The damage is hard to image and what rescue workers found.  To see photos from others click here.


This was a house south of Greenburg, and a beginning of what was to come.


There were piles of debris and this piece of farm equipment upside down. 


This what is left of an oil pump jack where they pump oil to the tank in the background. Note oil on the ground.


A second pump jack station that was destroyed.


The foundation of a house is all that is left - note that trees are stripped of all leaves and branches.


Greenburg on the GPS map on our computer.


As we came into town, the state police had the roads blocked to stop traffic from coming into the disaster area.


The trucks taking debris from the town. 


The state police parked in front of the welcome sign.


One of the trucks carrying peoples personal belongings as well as parts of buildings.


The smoke rolls off the fires from the burning area.  Bulldozers continually push the debris into the fire.


The trucks are turning into the dump area.  There appeared to be trucks from all towns in the state.


The first building we came to as we walked into town. At least there was a partial house left.


The homeowner going through the items to see what could be salvaged.


Messages were left on the houses, some showing a sense of humor.  There were numerous American Flags being flown in the town.


A stuffed raccoon in the debris spooked a number of us.


Looking down the street, the power lines were down, trees broken, peoples personal belongings piled along the roadway.


Appliances, mowers, and other items were stacked to be disposed of by the trucks.


The windshield was smashed by cinder blocks, and all the windows were gone.  Each vehicle/building were marked as to being checked for victims.


This notice was posted on the front porch.


This was the house the notice was posted on.


Another resident who was going through what could be salvaged.


The streets were still littered and metal still bent around the poles.  The trees with no leaves or limbs were a grim sight.


A small vehicle found flipped and battered in the roadway.


The National Guard were still patrolling the streets making sure that the people in the town were suppose to be there.


This is the gentleman that had the heart attack and was telling us of the situation that night.  He and others in the town were very friendly and told us of their experiences.


Another of the standing home where most of the belongings were in the yard.


Members from our group go down the street marveling at the destruction.


The steps were all that was left of this home.  It was strange how the storm destroyed some homes, and left others.


The house shows the markings of being checked by rescue workers.


Messages were left in the houses.


Looking down the street, the scrapers marks show where they have picked up the debris. The houses that were there are only a memory now.


This house survived pretty well, and a board was requesting that it not be bulldozed.


This was typical of what most houses looked like as you passed them.


This house had been spray painted by the owners afterwards showing a sense of humor.


A closer look at some of the messages.  The American Flag was prominent throughout the town.


This was off the roadway in a back yard where the debris had not been stacked and ready to be hauled away.


The emergency relief vehicles circled the town, giving out water, food, or whatever the relief workers might want.


The bulldozer had just paused in getting ready to take down another building.


This tree had all the bark stripped off this side of the tree.  The backside of the tree still had the bark on it.


This dumpster had been tossed and been tossed.


A tractor is dragging a mobile home down the street.


Looking into the uptown, the buildings were all damaged.


A closer look at the damage in town.


A truck that shows damage from something falling on it.  The house behind was gone.


Looking in the window of a house.


This is the same house.


A resident of the town was taking off some of what they could salvage.


The house next to this mobile home was gone, but only broken windows in this mobile home.


A sign in the yard shows the insurance companies were in town.


The dump truck being loaded with debris.


One of the police cars from a neighboring town.  They lost one of their officers the night of the tornado.


Another patrolling car from another town.


Vehicles are lined up after a day of work, ready to go out again tomorrow.


Tent city where the relief workers were staying.


Another area where tents had been set up.  Tents were of all sizes and shapes.


The only working bathrooms in the area.


Even in the parking areas, thoughts were toward having to leave in case of another tornado.


A thermometer on a building near tent city.


The water supply for tent city was coming from this milk tanker.

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