GREENSBURG, Kan. — Friday’s tornadoes that hit several states hits close to Kansas. It was Friday, May 4, 2007, when an EF-5 tornado destroyed most of the town of Greensburg.
Former Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson says being a part of a community impacted this way is unique.
“If you haven’t been through a situation like it, you can’t say I know what you’re going through. We know what they’re going through.”
Like Dixson, Tim Marshall understands. He is a meteorologist and engineer. He also did a damage survey of Greensburg in 2007.
“It’s events like this that actually provide crucial data for us to go ahead and see about updating the EF scales,” Marshall explained.
Current Greensburg Mayor Matt Christenson was a student at Kansas State University when the town was hit 14 years ago. He explained what it was like the first time he returned to his hometown.
“The town was unrecognizable. All landmarks were gone. It was nothing but basically a barren landscape with stripped trees and debris.”
Dixson says the city leaders of these impacted communities need to help their community members heal.
Gallery: Greensburg tornado damage
“Don’t make decisions rapidly. They’ll care for their community. They all have to look out for the well-being and safety of everyone from now on through the clean-up process.”
Some of these towns may experience sweeping changes, it could even impact local politics. In 2008, Greensburg had to change from a district elected city council to a general election.
“We really didn’t have people living inside the city limits in those districts anymore, because there weren’t any houses there,” Mayor Christenson explained.
It’s not clear if anyone from Greensburg will go to the states to help out. People here know that just days after a tornado, communities don’t even know what they need help with. The city plans to reach out in the next couple of weeks to help.