Wichita Paper on Tornado: ‘Greensburg Is Gone’

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By: E&P Staff

The Wichita Eagle, two days after a massive tornado hit Kansas and other states, puts it succinctly today on the top of its Web site, with this headline: “Greensburg is gone; its future, unknown.”

The article opens: “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.”

An aerial photo shows a scene of total devastation stretching for what looks like a mile. Nine were killed.

The site carries many photos, numerous articles and a blog (a norm today) carrying reporters’ brief notes. Here are some of the them, in reverse chronology, from www.kansas.com.
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9:30 a.m. Sunday

Bulldozers have begun to level unstable structures around Greensburg. Crews are spray-painting street names on the asphalt so people know where they are.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like here, but in a weird way it reminds me of El Dorado Lake. Flat and featureless — except for the bare and twisted treetops that rise above everything.

— Deb Gruver


8:02 p.m. Saturday

Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital, on South Washington, volunteered Saturday to take up to eight pets critically injured in the Greensburg tornado.

As of Saturday evening, none had arrived.

— Dan Voorhis


7:23 p.m. Saturday

A tornado touched down briefly twice near Haviland about 7:15 p.m., driving reporters’ vehicles on U.S. 54 toward the ditch.

Haviland, 12 miles east of Greensburg, is where hundreds of displaced residents have taken shelter since Friday night.

— L. Kelly


6:30 p.m. Saturday

The streets of Greensburg may look clear in photographs, but they are strewn with little bits of flotsam of a town ripped to shreds: nails, glass and metal.

The guys at Greensburg Tires “are going to be working around the clock,” said manager Jimmy Brozek.

They are getting help tonight from countless folks like Luis Moreno, who left his shop in Dodge City to help repair tires and keep backhoes, semitrucks and patrol cars rolling.

— Deb Gruver


5 p.m. Saturday

Julie Harshey lived in the Comodaro Apartments in Greensburg.

She wasn’t able to make it to the basement shelter in time.

She remembers hanging onto the doorknob and feeling her feet being lifted off the floor. She heard all of her dishes flying out of the cupboards, windows breaking, doors popping open.

Harshey found all of her neighbors but one and she can’t find her cat, Bootsie.

She was taken to the emergency room in Pratt for a head wound; she was hit by a flying timber.

She was also wearing a patch over her eye because she was hit by flying glass. She was wrapped in a blanket and clothed only in a hospital gown.

–Phyllis Jacobs Griekspoor

3:30 p.m. Saturday

Virginia Hammond of Greensburg stood in the street Saturday afternoon and looked at a gaping hole that once held a large curtained bedroom window.

“I just washed those curtains the day before yesterday,” she said.

During the storm, Hammond said, she and her husband huddled on their basement floor with their grandson.

“You could feel the dust and dirt,” she said. “The noise was just atrocious.”

Although they lost most of their possessions, she said, “right now that doesn’t mean anything.”

“My family’s safe. As long as you’ve got your family, that’s everything.”

— Tim Potter




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