Today local news is reporting about 90 percent of the small Kansas town of Greensburg of 1800 people is gone. For those of us who are familiar with it, this is very sad. It is a little piece of Americana and much of what made it distinctive is now in rubble. There was an old fashioned drug store, a small cafe, and a small-town tourist attraction – the world’s largest hand dug well – that has been welcoming visitors since the thirties. The well is on the west side of town, so we’re assuming it has suffered some damage to the building above ground, but I haven’t heard yet.
Seven are reported dead and more than 50 injured thus far, but I anticipate that number may grow. There are lots of even smaller towns around this small town and we don’t have reports from all of them yet.
I’m about 80 miles away and the old reporter in me wants to jump in the car and go down there. But, I won’t. The last thing rescue workers need is people wandering around the scene. In fact, you probably can’t wander around the scene – generally towns are secured at their borders when a tornado hits.
Years ago when the Hesston Tornado hit I was doing news and was there just hours after it hit. The aftermath of a tornado is a horrific thing to see. It’s mind-boggling the power of nature, but heart-breaking when you consider how that affects real humans and their lives.
The weather forecast for today is calling for a strong potential for developing storms over a large part of the state, including the area that was hard hit last night. They reported thunderstorms are developing now from Dodge City north to Norton – if you are in that area, please pay attention to the weather.
I have some comments and emails from people saying they found this blog through CNN today, so I thought I’d share with you that if you’re looking for local coverage, you can find it at www.kwch.com, www.kake.com and www.ksn.com. I will continue to put occasional updates here as well.
If you’re trying to reach family, realize that there is no power, gas, etc.- and very little cell phone signal – in Greensburg and other areas that were hit. The injured were mostly taken to Pratt Hospital about 50 miles away, including the 19 people who were in the Greensburg hospital last night.
If you had loved ones at the Carriage House Nursing Home in Greensburg, there were no injuries reported there but residents were evacuated to Augusta, Rose Hill, and Wichita
If you are hunting for family, register at disastersafe.redcross.org. If you want to call about loved ones, try 620-672-3651.