KAKE-TV in Wichita has extensive video footage of the tornado that destroyed Greensburg, Kansas late last night, and truth be told, I can’t watch more than a few seconds of it: it’s that horrendous.
The town of 1600 was evacuated; so far, four deaths have been reported, but not everyone has been accounted for.
Greensburg is about 80 miles from where I live and famous for the world’s largest hand dug well, 109 feet deep and 32 feet in diameter, that served as the city’s water supply until 1932. You can walk 105 steps down to the bottom and it’s worth the trip.
What we hear at this point is that large parts of the town are simply gone, including everything on the west side of the main street. This includes a nice old drug store. Houses, the hospital, the school, the grocery store, the Coastal Mart, the Pizza Hut everything is gone. Patients are being taken to Pratt, where they have only 69 beds. They just reported they now have 50 patients from Greensburg ranging in condition from good to critical.
Here’s a Google Map of the storm’s approximate path, courtesy of GIS/space blogger LordKingSquirrel.
When you live in Kansas, the only question you have is when. When will the big one hit your town? This one was not the kind I would wish to see, much less chase. I did go out along the edges to catch some lightning, but when a strike hit the ground about 200 yards from my face I went home. I actually got lucky I didn’t get hurt this time.
It’s going to be a long day on the Plains.
Update, 10:30 pm: Patsy Terrell continues to follow the story:
There is a curfew in Greensburg 8 to 8.
If you’re trying to reach family, understand there is no power of any sort. Electricity has been shut down because if you turn it back on you generally have fires to deal with. Officials are keeping it off. AT&T is working to get landlines working at the command center, but there are no landlines and no cell towers left. I posted a phone number in the post below you can call about loved ones. Media are saying most people have left Greensburg now.
That phone number is 620-672-3651. The current death toll is nine.