MAY 18

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by Hummer Storm Chaser

Two Years Later

Tornado threw this Greensburg car into a tree

On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado literally blew away the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas, taking all of the buildings, homes and schools for the 1600 residents and leaving a trail of nothing but debris. Tragically, nine residents were killed, but the 13-minute warning that the other residents received was enough that they could find shelter in basements. When they emerged after the tornado hit, the only structure left was the tall grain elevator along the railroad tracks in town.

Rebuilding has been difficult—most of the history of the 125-year old town, according to T.J. Larson, a new pastor who moved to Greensburg last September. “Even people who have lived here all their lives tell me that they get lost walking around town.”

Because the only structure spared by the tornado was the cylindrical grain silo, new homes that are cylindrical in shape have begun sprouting next to the deformed and mangled trees on the empty blocks where the rubble was the only thing left. The new homes are being built like a silo, and will be able to withstand 200-mph winds. The open floor plan of the homes is essentially a large safe room. In addition, rooftop herb gardens and solar photovoltaic panels in the back yards promote sustainability.

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