“We have all been here before,” runs a lyric in “Déjà vu” a song performed in the late ‘60’s by the vocal group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—a song chillingly apropos for residents of Greensburg Friday night as the town devastated by an EF5 tornado exactly 55 weeks earlier dodged two more tornadic bullets.


“We have all been here before,” runs a lyric in “Déjà vu” a song performed in the late ‘60’s by the vocal group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—a song chillingly apropos for residents of Greensburg Friday night as the town devastated by an EF5 tornado exactly 55 weeks earlier dodged two more tornadic bullets.

Performing storm spotter duties, Kiowa County Emergency Preparedness Director, and former sheriff Ray Stegman directed the sounding of Greensburg’s tornado sirens twice Friday as soon as sizeable funnels crossed the southern border with Comanche County, just as happened a year ago May 4.

Stegman first directed the sirens be operated at 7:50 p.m., then tailed the large tornado as it approached Greensburg.  Three miles south southwest of town the funnel was still on the ground, again a large wedge, similar to the monster that took 11 lives in the county seat a year ago.

“It was a mile wide then where it was touching the ground,” Stegman said.  Farther from the ground, in its rotation base the tornado was closer to two miles wide, according to Stegman.  Moments later, Greensburg received a much needed reprieve, as the massive twister inexplicably lifted back into the air just after crossing US 183, sped over the city, only to set back down northeast of town where it continued on to later create damage in Edwards County.

“The situation was so similar to last year that it was scary,” Stegman said Saturday morning.  “The way it came in from the south out of Comanche County and headed straight for town.  The big difference is that this time it lifted just in time to spare us.
   “We got so lucky with this tornado.  We would’ve had so much damage out of this thing again if it had stayed on the ground.  It was really phenomenal to watch.  I mean, I can say that now.”  Stegman was just southeast of Greensburg, near FEMAville as he watched the funnel soar over Greensburg.

Round two found Stegman again phoning in to dispatch to sound the sirens at 9:45 p.m. as another confirmed tornado crossed the county line from the south, making a distinct beeline once more for Greensburg.  Less than three miles from town, however, this funnel took a right turn, according to Stegman, heading east just south of US 54, straight for the tiny berg of Wellsford.  According to Stegman the twister then moved northeast across US 54 just before reaching Wellsford.  This tornado later moved into Edwards County as well after approaching Hopewell in Pratt County.

Despite the pair of twisters traversing long paths through rural Kiowa County, little if any damage could be spotted Saturday morning, Stegman saying as late as 9:30 a.m. none had been reported.  County Road and Bridge Superintendent Doyle Conrad told The Signal shortly after 9 a.m. he could find no damage at either Wellsford or along the southern border with Comanche County.

The Triangle Rodeo’s Friday night performance was, however, a casualty of the storm, rescheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, preceding the scheduled Saturday night show at which the queen and princess were to be crowned.

“I just had a really bad feeling as both of those got close to town,” Stegman said later.  “But we got lucky this time around.  We deserved to.”