The Awesome Power of Tornadoes

Photographer Mike Theiss recently toured Greensburg, Kansas, the small town at ground zero of that monster tornado. Having seen the stock news footage on CNN, I still hadn’t really internalized the true power and energy unleashed in the EF-5 storm with winds howling at over 200 mph. Check out these photos of the utter devastation, linked directly from Mike’s site.

From Mike’s comments on Spaceweather.com:

“The power of the wind from this EF-5 tornado was evident,” says Theiss. “I documented a fork stuck in a tree, a Kansas license plate ripped off a car and stuck in a tree, millions of splintered pieces of wood and much more. There was amazing evidence of winds over 200 mph everywhere.”

“Every single vehicle I saw was peppered with rocks, boards and other debris,” he continues. “The only safe place would have been underground, but I think that might not have been very safe either because I saw basements that were filled with tons of debris from the house collapsing in on itself.”

“My experience at ground zero was depressing yet uplifting. Among all the destruction, the only reaction I witnessed among residents was positive excitement about how great the city will be once it’s rebuilt. The entire community pulled together and began cleanup immediately. One idea being tossed around is to ‘go green’–i.e., to use wind, solar energy and other resources at hand to power the reconstructed city. This would make Greensburg the first 100% green city in the USA. What an amazing idea!”

Greensburg Photo Gallery
[donate to the Green for Greensburg Fund]

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