MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Yesterday, May 4th, marked the 13th year anniversary of a large night time tornado that leveled a small town in southwestern Kansas.
On May 4th, 2007 around 9:45 PM a 1.7 mile wide tornado, that was wider than the town itself, tore through the city of Greensburg, Kansas leveling 95 percent of the town leaving the other 5 percent seriously damaged. The tornado claimed 11 lives in the small town or nearly 1500 people injuring another 70.
In total the tornado traveled 28.8 miles and was on the ground for a total of 65 minutes. Approximate max wind speeds of the twister were estimated at 205 MPH by the National Weather Service.
The Greensburg tornado wast rated the highest possible strength on the EF scale at a 5. It was also the first EF5 rating since the scale switched from the Fujita scale to the Enhanced Fujita scale, which was introduced in February 2007.
President George W. Bush and governor Kathleen Sebelius declared the town a disaster area. The tornado caused over 50 percent of the pttplulation to be relocated. A once small town of roughly 1500, based on the 2000 census, was down to just under 800 in the 2007 census. As of the 2020 census, just over 900 people have moved back into the new environment friendly town.
Just 6 years after the tornado struck the town went a way that was the first of its kind in the United States. Every city building was built to LEED Platinum standards. Making the town of Greensburg, green for the future.