Fourth Anniversary of Greensburg, KS EF-5

Doppler Radar Velocity Image Showing Astounding Gate to Gate Shear on the Greensburg Tornado (Courtesy: NWS I believe, click to enlarge)

A blog post by Mike Smith reminded me that tonight is the fourth anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through Greensburg, KS. I thought I’d share some radar imagery I saved from the event. I was working on TV in Upstate NY at the time, and I remember watching this unfold that night. It gave me almost the exact same “pit in your stomach” feeling I had while watching the tornado outbreak ravage the Southeast last week. It was obvious from spotters and radar that a large and extremely dangerous tornado was on the ground in Kansas, and it was only a matter of time before it managed to run into a community on its path. Unfortunately that was Greensburg and unfortunately, that was at night. But because of the amazing warnings and preparedness of people in this part of the country, only eleven people lost their lives. It’s certainly 11 too many, but considering the circumstances, it had the potential to be even worse.

As a meteorologist, some particular events stand out to you…this one was one of them for me. I went home and watched coverage streaming online from KSN-TV for several hours that evening. Their chief meteorologist, Dave Freeman, did an absolutely remarkable job handling their station’s wall to wall coverage that evening. It was one of the few times I’ve ever said to myself that I need to write to someone to tell them what a spectacular job they did. Thankfully, that coverage is still online today:

Part One

Part Two

Some other imagery of that storm…

Radar Capture as Tornado Hit Greensburg, KS
Doppler Velocity Image as Tornado Exits Greensburg, KS, with over 160 kts. gate to gate shear

Truly a remarkable night…one we’ll certainly experience again, but one I wish we would not have to witness again.

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