Author: Mary Knapp

On May 4th, 2007, a destructive tornado hit Greensburg Kansas. It was the first level 5 rating on the new Enhanced Fujita Scale and the first level 5 classification since May 3, 1999 when an F5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. There were 12 tornadoes that evening from Clark and Comanche counties to Edwards and Stafford counties during about a 4-hour period, one a little over 2 miles wide! Two of the tornadoes existed for over 1 hour as they churned up the ground, leveling homes and causing fatalities along their path. Although over 90 percent of the town of Greensburg was literally erased, miraculously, only 13 people perished in the storms, 11 of those in Greensburg. Another round of tornadoes occurred the following day across generally in the same area. Nearly 250 pivot irrigation sprinklers were damaged or destroyed during the 2-day outbreak. Due to the number of systems involved and the lack of replacements, some farmers would be without irrigation for over 1 year.

Greensburg, May 2007 (FEMA photo archives)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library