Jaime Oppenheimer/The Wichita Eagle
On the Road - Tornado Alley
Heading Directly Into the Heart of Tornado Country
Friday, March 28, 2008
It is just a handful of miles from Mullinsville to Greensburg, Kansas but far enough that while the former was spared, the latter had been almost totally destroyed by an EF5 tornado - the strongest possible - on May 4, 2007, not quite a year earlier.
I’ve come into Greensburg totally unprepared for what I’m about to see. The road leading up into town takes me up a slight rise. On my left is the prototypical silo rising high into the sky. Everything seems normal until I reached an intersection where Highway 400 crosses a smaller road.
By Ray Ford
The first thing I notice when I drive into Greensburg are the trees. The stumps and larger limbs are still there but all of the lesser branches have been ripped off leaving a scene that Edvard Munch might have included in his painting The Scream had he experienced the destruction here.
The second thing that hits me is the wide open space. With the exception of a building here and there, there is nothing from block to block. I’m looking straight down 10-12 city blocks and there’s nothing there.
Courtesy of the Wichita Eagle
When I reach what ought to be the safety of my motel a bit further down the road in Kingman, Kansas I’ve got the news on before the door’s shut. I’m wondering - where’s the basement? Knowing that there isn’t one unsettles me even further. Tonight, though, I’m lucky. The storm track is taking the storms east from Texas across upper Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I’m safe for the moment but those in downtown Atlanta won’t be so lucky.