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Greensburg Tornado

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A tornado museum for Greensburg?

The town that already has the world's largest hand-dug well might one day have the world's largest tornado museum. That was one of the more popular ideas raised during a meeting Tuesday of local business people who are just beginning to plan the economic future of this tornado-shattered community.

Hospital returns, clad in canvas

A khaki canvas field hospital opened its flaps Wednesday and began offering health care to the residents of Kiowa County. The hospital -- nine tents joined by a common corridor -- has 25 beds. It has water, electricity and air conditioning.

Radar allowed earlier warnings, saved lives

A massive tornado headed toward Greensburg, long after sunset May 4. Radars available to the National Weather Service only a few years ago would have been able to detect rotation in the thunderstorm, but not the tornado itself.

Kirstie Alley comes home to help

Kirstie Alley crawled into a cage at the makeshift animal shelter and cooed to a black calf. "He's decided he's going to poo on me," she said, ducking out of the way.

Farm Bureau starts ag recovery fund

The Kansas Farm Bureau has established a weather recovery fund for farmers and ranchers with losses or damage from the May 4-6 tornado outbreak or the flooding that followed.

Dollars rolling in for Greensburg

Folks from around the state and around the country are digging deep into their wallets and purses to help out the survivors of the Greensburg tornado.

Searching with hope, they recover treasure

More than anything else, Marvin Lawson is a Marine. So the Korean War veteran, who also served three tours in Vietnam, had three belongings foremost on his mind when he learned he could go back to what was left of his home in Greensburg:

At town meeting: facts, plans and cheers

In an event that was part information and part pep rally for recovery, about 500 residents of this tornado-devastated community held their first mass gathering to talk about what comes next.

BEFORE THE STORM: How Greensburg used to be

Greensburg was deep, we know that. Consider the Big Well -- 109 feet to the bottom -- and the big-hearted people who lived there. In this wet spring, the town was awash in the color of its namesake, "Cannonball" Green, its lawns and gardens and surrounding pastureland lush and fertile.

'Big Black Dog' reigns at Pratt animal shelter

"The Big Black Dog" has his own private pool. It's blue with colored fish on the side. He likes to stand in it and drink the water.

Kwik Shop opens temporary store in Greensburg

Kwik Shop will be back in Greensburg. The Hutchinson-based convenience store chain announced plans today to rebuild in the tornado-ravaged community, as it opened a temporary convenience store in the parking lot of its demolished location at 203 W. Kansas.

Kwik Shop says it will rebuild in town

Kwik Shop Inc. is the latest business to commit to Greensburg. The Hutchinson-based division of Kroger announced plans Tuesday to rebuild its destroyed store on U.S. 54 near the Big Well, the same day that it opened temporary operations in the store's parking lot.

Baseball royalty drops in to help

Matt Deighton lost his home in the Greensburg tornado, but he salvaged the baseball his father played with in the Merchant League in the 1940s.

Groups donate time, money to tornado victims

TO GET HELP Disabled American Veterans is providing transportation to and from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Wichita for people displaced by the tornadoes who need prescription refills or medical care.

Supplies, and support, at Haviland hardware store

Vic Hannan searches the aisles of his store for a Styrofoam cooler. When he finds one, he brings it to the checkout stand at Haviland Hardware and Convenience Groceries, the mom-and-pop place he's owned for about 2 years.

Tornado survivors join for Sunday worship

For Greensburg resident Roger Staats, faith will be at the core of this community's rebuilding process. "There's going to be some long, hard days," said Staats, who like most Greensburg residents lost his home and many other possessions.

Sedgwick County Department on Aging offers help to displaced older adults

If you are hosting an older adult who has been displaced by the Greensburg tornado, the Sedgwick County Department on Aging can help you.

Friends, relatives pitch in to clean up Greensburg

Max Vahsholtz did Saturday what he has done every time a tornado has hit near his hometown of Pratt. He drove his skid steer loader onto his truck and hauled it out to where it can be of most help. On Saturday, that was Greensburg.

Memorial fund established for officer killed in tornado

A memorial fund has been set up for Macksville police officer Tim Buckman, who was killed by the tornado that passed near Macksville late on the evening of May 4.

Some moms spend holiday far from home, volunteering

This Mother's Day, families across the nation will be missing their mothers, children, wives and siblings as disaster relief workers remain in Greensburg and surrounding areas to help those affected by the May 4 disaster.

Macksville police officer laid to rest

Stafford County wept for one of its own Saturday, as law enforcement and emergency rescue workers from across Kansas helped bury Macksville police officer Robert "Tim" Buckman.

Eagle reporter details challenges of first days' coverage

Around 11 p.m. May 4, I was yawning and on my way to bed after a long day at work when the phone rang. My editor, L. Kelly, told me that a tornado had hit Greensburg only about an hour before.

Farms, ranches feel storms' fury

The worst of the tornadoes in central Kansas on May 4 and 5 wiped out Greensburg. But up to a half-dozen others tore out miles of fences, shredded shelter belt wind breaks, ripped down barns and sheds, and demolished farm homes.

Tornado victim dies; death toll rises to 12

The Pratt Regional Medical Center confirmed that another victim of the May 4 Greensburg tornado has died. Harold Schmidt, 77, died Monday morning from injuries he sustained in the storm. He was a Greensburg resident.

Pratt animal shelter requests help, supplies

The Pratt County Humane Society is asking for more donations and more help. Jan Peters, a Wichitan who has been coordinating volunteers and donation collection, said animals will be moved to Pratt tomorrow and that the shelter needs a place to keep the cats.


State and federal agencies said they are doing all they can to speed assistance to Greensburg residents who lost their homes and possessions to last week's tornado.

To best help Greensburg, donate cash

The semis are arriving in Greensburg from around the country, bulging with donations for the folks whose hometown was wiped out by a tornado.

Woman takes in three tiny raccoons

Twister the raccoon thinks Abbie Wisdom-Williams is his mother. She has been caring for him since workers with the state's Department of Wildlife and Parks brought him from Greensburg to Pretty Prairie, where Wisdom-Williams lives.

Tornado victim Harold Schmidt, 77, dies

The tornado that hit Greensburg on May 4 tore away Sarah and Harold Schmidt's home, exposing them and the basement where they sought refuge to the killer storm.

Pratt shelters unclaimed pets

Amid the buildings that were destroyed by the Greensburg tornado, perhaps the most unlikely animal survivor was found last week: a goldfish.

Memorial fund established to honor Macksville officer killed by tornado

A memorial fund has been set up for Macksville police officer Tim Buckman, who was killed by the tornado that passed near Macksville late on the evening of May 4.

Before you go to Greensburg, call

Before piling the family in the car and heading to Greensburg this morning, the United Way wants you to call first and see where and how you're needed.

Volunteers, donations aid animals after storm

Wichitan Jan Peters said she saw a need for animal assistance immediately when she responded to the Greensburg tornado on Sunday. "I watched a dog climb up on top of what used to be his house... and I knew," she said.

Alliance to hold Sunday church service in Greensburg

An alliance of Kiowa County churches on Sunday will host the first Sunday worship service in Greensburg since last week's tornado.

System of text alerts set up for cell phone users

LSI Corp. employees have set up a text-messaging alert system so Greensburg residents can stay informed about what's going on in town.

Text-message system set up for Greensburg residents

LSI Corporation employees have set up a text-messaging alert system so Greensburg residents can stay informed about what's going on in town.

Sports not forgotten amid the destruction

ESPN reporter Steve Cyphers has been in and around Greensburg this week, and the devastation surprised him. "I looked at all the footage on TV and all the pictures," Cyphers said, "but it's nothing at all like seeing it in person."

President surveys damage

Bush offers solace to storm-weary residents President Bush spent about three hours in Greensburg on Wednesday, surveying destruction and bringing the "prayers and concerns of the people of this country" to the survivors of one of the most destructive tornadoes in recent memory.

Rescuers constantly search for survivors

As Capt. Martin Gray of the Topeka Fire Department searched through the debris that was all that was left of Greensburg, he found three clocks frozen in time. They read "9:50": the time the deadly tornado struck here Friday night.

Help is getting to Greensburg, but more's still needed

In addition to donations of money, a limited amount of supplies is being sought for the victims of last weekend's tornadoes. Bath towels, for example, are needed by people even if they're staying with relatives, said Monique Garcia, a volunteer working with the Salvation Army in Haviland.

Family, friends pay tribute to Alex Giles

He'd wanted to write a letter to give to his dad on Father's Day. Instead, he wrote one to share with him on Wednesday. The occasion was his father's funeral.

Insurers in Greensburg find little left to assess

Tony Kimmi has worked a lot of natural disasters in his nearly 13 years with Farm Bureau Insurance. But nothing prepared him for what we saw in Greensburg a couple of days ago.

Donate to Greensburg relief Friday at River Festival

People can donate money for Greensburg tornado disaster relief on Friday during opening-day activities of the Wichita River Festival.

Recovery starts; groups offer assistance

This tornado-torn town officially moved from response to recovery mode Wednesday. Officials think everyone has been accounted for, said Dave Sterbenz, deputy chief of the Topeka Fire Department. "We have absolutely no knowledge of missing persons or any bodies," he said.

Storm forces mom to have baby early

Seven months pregnant, Bonnie Harding just wanted to get into her pajamas and go to bed. Instead she ended up trapped in a basement for 3 hours in a storm that threatened her life.

Lost pets wait to be claimed

While more than half of the dogs and cats found after the Greensburg tornado have been reunited with their owners, some are still waiting to be identified and taken home.

A moment to mourn

Looking over the shambles that is now Greensburg, Mayor Lonnie McCollum envisions an educational center with a small Imax theater built at the site of this town's claim to fame, the world's largest hand-dug well.

Greensburg graduation scheduled for May 19

The 25 graduating seniors from Greensburg High School will get their diplomas next Saturday. Ceremonies were put on hold following last Friday night's devastating tornado that destroyed much of the community, including the Greensburg High School.

FEMA begins to process assistance claims

At least 495 people in Kiowa County have signed up for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA spokeswoman Dawn Kinsey said Wednesday.

Newspaper deliveries disrupted by tornado

Greensburg residents who subscribe to The Wichita Eagle are being asked to contact the newspaper to resume delivery at a different address.

In one spot, storm victims receive all manner of aid

Relief center has basics, extras and even hugs Katie Britton has shown her daughter their destroyed home in Greensburg, so 2-year-old Eva Jo knows why they can't go back. But that doesn't make the ordeal any easier. So after picking up vouchers for gasoline and other expenses, Britton found something else on a table of donated items.

Deputy who tried to warn of tornado dies of injuries

The weekend before the storm that killed him, Robert "Tim" Buckman took his daughter dancing. The Macksville police officer and Stafford County sheriff's deputy -- a man who fought fires, chased tornadoes and hunted deer with a bow and arrow -- was in the mood for a two-step.

Heroic dog found -- excerpts from our blog

Mable McCormick is going to get her dog back. Toby, the 3-year-old keeshond credited with saving the 93-year-old Greensburg woman's life as a tornado demolished her home Friday, was located by veterinarians working the disaster Monday.

State oil firms fret over Greensburg damage

TGT Petroleum suffered only minimal damage to production equipment in the tornado that devastated Greensburg on Friday night. But for all practical purposes, the disaster shut down the company because of the extensive damage to other oil supply and oil service companies in Greensburg and to the town's infrastructure.

Brownback suggests plan for Greensburg

Sen. Sam Brownback suggested Thursday that a pilot program based on the Homestead Act could bring revitalization and relief to Greensburg.

7 men charged in Greensburg looting

Judge Daniel Love called court in a vacant Mullinville drugstore Wednesday to read criminal charges against seven people accused of looting cigarettes and beer from a Dillons grocery store shattered by Friday's tornado.

Victim was game show contestant, horse lover

Sarah Tackett was a horse breeder for most of her life. But it was her 10 years working as a house painter that got her on the "What's My Line" television show.

Greensburg blog: From our reporters' notes

5 p.m., Friday HAVILAND -- On top of everything else they have to worry about, Greensburg residents now also have to worry about mosquitoes.

Dillons' stay in Greensburg unclear

It's people first, business later for Dillons officials as they sort through what's left of their 40-year-old Greensburg store. The longtime Kansas grocer is focused on finding resources and other Dillons jobs for the 24 people displaced when Friday's twister damaged the 9,300-square-foot store at 225 E. Kansas.

Dog, trapped for 6 days, found alive in rubble

National Guardsmen moving debris in Greensburg today found a dog that survived being trapped in the rubble since Friday. The guardsmen, with the Iola-based 891st Field Support Group, were using a skid-steer loader to move rubble near the Big Well when a black Labrador retriever popped out.

LPGA winner to give 100K to Greensburg storm victims

South Korea's Mi Hyun Kim said Tuesday that she will donate $100,000 of her winnings from the SemGroup Championship to benefit Kansans affected by a deadly tornado last week.

An emotional victory for town, golfers

No matter what score they produced Thursday, the Greensburg Rangers were the sentimental favorites at the Kinsley Invitational golf tournament.

Call before driving to Greensburg

Want to help in Greensburg this weekend? Before piling the family in the car, the Kansas Adjutant General's Department encourages people to call the United Way Donations Hotline at 888-413-4327 to see how you can help.

College offers grads one free year

The 25 seniors from Greensburg High School will get to attend Barton County Community College at no cost for the first year, if they want.

President Bush tours Greensburg

President Bush is spending his time in Greensburg hugging women and shaking men's hands as he surveys the destruction and offers support to the 1,400 people displaced by the killer tornado that struck Friday.

Storm ended couple's 64 years together

Alex called out for Bunny, his wife. Three times, he said her name. And then, no more.

Meteorite found safe in museum's rubble

Finally, there's good news from here. The town's famous 1,000-pound meteorite is not lost after all. It was just hiding, under the rubble of the museum that has housed it for decades and is no more.

As couple digs, a lifetime surfaces

Rod and Shirley Bradley raised four children in a yellow brick ranch-style home built in 1953 at Spruce and Wisconsin. On Monday, they say their home for the first time since the tornado.

Profiles of three killed in Greensburg

Hopkins was found in the 300 block of South Grove, about 100 yards from the home where he had lived for the past 45 years. His son, Jay Hopkins, said he thought his dad was headed to the car to escape the tornado when he was killed.

Greensburg banks to reopen soon

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is expected to issue an executive order expediting the reopening of Greensburg's three banks, state Banking Commissioner Tom Thull said today.

Searchers say they know of no one left missing

After the death toll climbed to 11, rescue workers in the town of Greensburg said this afternoon they appear have everyone accounted for from the ravages of tornadoes sweeping across central Kansas Friday night.

Accused looters appear in court, moved to Mullinville

Nine accused looters and curfew violators from the Greensburg tornado site made their first appearance before a judge this afternoon in a vacant Mullinville drug store.

Bad news and good as Greensburg digs out

As residents searched for pieces of their lives, searchers found the body of another victim of the Greensburg tornado today. That brings the number of dead in Kiowa County to nine. Two more victims from weekend storms died in Pratt and Ottawa counties.

State agencies offer tips, insurance help

State agencies said Monday that they're ready to help victims of tornadoes and flooding with insurance matters. They also warned those victims to beware of scam artists.

Weary residents keep focus on work

Normally, a visit by President Bush would be the biggest event in this town's history. But today, as they dig out from under a tornado's rubble, the people of Greensburg are ust too busy to pay Bush much heed.

Greensburg senior signs with Friends

Her signing of a letter of intent to attend Friends University drew a bigger-than-usual crowd. No wonder. In Greensburg, good news has been hard to find since Friday night's ravaging tornado.

United Way to coordinate aid fund

The United Way of the Plains will act as a central collection point for money directed to long-term help for tornado victims, the organization announced Tuesday.


Many organizations suggest the most efficient way for you to help the storm victims in western Kansas is to give cash. Salvation Army red kettles

Five Greensburg victims identified

Officials have released the names of five of the 10 Kiowa County victims of Friday's tornado. Relatives of these people have been notified:

Hundreds apply for FEMA assistance

At least 495 people in Kiowa County have applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency since a tornado thrashed through the area and leveled Greensburg on Friday.

Survivors share losses, blessings

With hurt etched on his face, Robert McIntosh thrust his jaw out and spat out the words. Greensburg will be back. "We're not going to run from this," the salvage yard operator said Monday while recovering at Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus from a heart attack suffered in the hours after Friday's tornado.

Want to help Greensburg? Here's how

The red kettles of Christmastime are making a rare May appearance in Wichita to collect money for the victims of last weekend's tornadoes.

Salvaging what they can

Residents returned to pick up pieces of their lives Monday, stunned and sobered by the devastation, yet relieved to be back after a 1.7-mile-wide tornado leveled their town Friday night.

Tornado victims to be housed near Larned's sexual predator unit

After losing their group homes in the tornado that flattened Greensburg, a group of people with mental disabilities has been moved to a building at Larned State Hospital ordinarily used for treating sexual predators.

Kansas Humane Society to accept storm donations for pets

The Kansas Humane Society in Wichita has announced that it will serve as a drop-off site for pet relief supplies going to Greensburg.

Traffic continues being rerouted around Greensburg

About 4,900 vehicles travel through Greensburg on an average day, including 1,700 commercial vehicles. But as hundreds of emergency workers and residents sift through their flattened city, traffic on U.S. 54 is being rerouted around on both sides, a Kansas Department of Transportation official said.

Two women rescued from church basement earlier than thought

It turns out that two elderly women who were rescued from the basement of the local Mennonite church were found early Saturday morning.

Greensburg stresses recovery, safety today

This tornado-torn town officially moved from response to recover mode this morning, the incident commander said at a news briefing.

Sedgwick County Aging Department offers help to older tornado victims

Older adults displaced by the tornadoes and severe weather in Greensburg who are temporarily living in Butler, Harvey or Sedgwick counties can call the Sedgwick County Department on Aging for services.

Profiles of four who died in the Greensburg tornado

Volz was a quiet woman who loved to knit and would take in any stray kitty she found. She was at home with her husband, Norman, and her father, Max McColm, when the tornado roared in Friday, said Virginia McColm, Volz's sister-in-law who lives in Lakewood, Colo.

President's visit welcome, but not town's top priority

A visit by President Bush on Wednesday would normally be the biggest event in the town's history. But digging out from under a tornado's rubble, the people of Greensburg are just too busy to pay the visit much heed.

Sebelius, White House trade jabs over Guard

A day before a scheduled presidential visit to tornado-ravaged Greensburg, the White House fired back at Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday for her complaints that the Kansas National Guard is underequipped for dealing with disaster because of the amount of its equipment tied up in the Iraq war.

Sports teams will complete their seasons

Alex Reinecke usually knows the condition of his golf clubs this time of year. Not Monday. Not standing before the tornado-ravaged remains of his home on Greensburg's South Sycamore Street.

President Bush to visit Greensburg

Sen. Pat Roberts' office announced this afternoon that President Bush plans to visit Greensburg on Wednesday. "As the recovery effort continues, the president wants to personally visit with the people who have survived such a horrific tragedy," Roberts said.

Q&A about the Greensburg tornado

Here are answers to some things we -- and readers -- wondered about the aftermath of the tornado in Greensburg.

Greensburg banks get creative

On Monday, Chris Ballard and Tom Corns opened Greensburg State Bank. Except on this day they were operating it from under a 10-by-12-foot canopy that Ballard put up in front of the bank's only building, which was damaged by Friday night's tornado.

Wichita officials to visit Greensburg, offer help

City Manager George Kolb and Police Chief Norman Williams left for Greensburg this morning, hoping to find out what Wichita can do to help as the city cleans up in the wake of the monstrous tornado that destroyed almost everything in town.

5 in uniform arrested for looting in Greensburg

Four Fort Riley soldiers and a reserve police officer were arrested for looting cigarettes and alcohol from a store in Greensburg, the state adjutant general's office said.

National Guard deals with less equipment

When Kansas National Guard equipment was being shipped to the war in Iraq, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius warned that if a major disaster hit here, Guard troops wouldn't have enough equipment on hand.

Leak forces new evacuation

Parts of Greensburg had to be evacuated again today even as residents were allowed in to retrieve belongings. Rescuers were working to shore up a slight leak on a 30,000-gallon rail car carrying anhydrous ammonia, a tank damaged in the tornado, said David Sternbenz, an official with the Topeka Fire Department.

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