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Your e-mails: 'The telltale signs of a powerful storm'

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(CNN) -- More than 75 tornadoes ripped through the Plains on Saturday, just 24 hours after a deadly storm killed nine people and leveled Greensburg, Kansas.

The tornado-packing storms killed another person in Ottawa, Kansas, on Saturday, and a twister in Sweetwater, Oklahoma, caused major damage to a high school and other buildings. (Full story) asked readers who witnessed the severe weather to tell us what they saw. Below is a selection of the responses, some of which have been edited:

Brian Ingalls of Plains, Kansas
My family and I were returning from Liberal, Kansas, Friday night, driving east on Highway 54 after seeing "Spider-Man 3." We were driving toward the storm as it slammed into Greensburg. It was big. It also had the telltale signs of a powerful storm: Non-stop, rapid-fire lightning flashing great distances from one large cloud formation to another, giving the eastern sky an eerie feel of being on fire. Incredible energy. Glad it only skirted us, but several in our community have relatives or friends in Greensburg, so we're doing what we can to help and praying hard.

Becki Harkness of Pooler, Georgia
I am originally from Wichita and my family has always made it a tradition to stop in Greensburg every time we pass it heading west on US 54. I find it difficult to believe the Big Well and the quiet, leafy streets in Greensburg are gone. I can't express how much it breaks my heart to see the practically unrecognizable town and the remnants of the Big Well following the tornado damage. Along with everyone else in the country, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Greensburg. Kansans are well used to severe storms, and I think the death toll would have been much larger in other areas of the country where sirens and shelters aren't as prevalent. I think the local law enforcement, emergency management agencies and spotters should be commended for the work they do throughout the year to warn citizens of impending storms. I know the people of Greensburg will find the strength to rebuild. I know my family and friends will continue to stop in the town every time we pass.

Jesse Jones of Greensburg, Kansas
I lost everything. My home is gone, my job is gone, and my town is gone. I was stuck in a truck when it hit. They say it sounds like a freight train, but it's more like standing by a jet engine at full strength. I'm just lucky to be alive.

Derek Rogy of Salina, Kansas
It was around 11:45 p.m. Friday night and we had just gotten off the I-70 to I-135 exit traveling southbound towards Salina when all the sudden the wind picked up around 40-50 mph and it started hailing. There was so much lightning that anyone could easily mistake it for it being the middle of the day.

James Grabhorn of Bonner Springs, Kansas
I owned a home in Hoisington, Kansas, about 75 miles north of Greensburg, which was destroyed by tornado in April 2001. From experience, I can attest that the people and business of Kansas will "rise to the occasion." There will be no cries for federal assistance, no finger-pointing, political posturing, or blame assessment. The next problem in Greensburg will probably be what to do with all the arriving donated supplies, bulldozers, backhoes, trucks and manpower. The people of this area never lose their "help thy neighbor" pioneer spirit. God bless them.

Janice Manuel of Bella Vista, Connecticut
This is not the first time Greensburg, Kansas, has been devastated by a tornado. Decades ago the town was devastated by a big tornado. Because it was the former home of my mother's family, one of her older siblings went back to look and took pictures. We have a set of eight, all matted and in one big frame, of homes and buildings and storm-ripped trees. When the city administrator now says they will come back, rebuild, I know that an earlier generation did it before.

Daniel Kieft of Colorado Springs, Colorado
My grandparents were from Centerview, Kansas, and moved to Greensburg in the early 1930s. They had a farm outside town for about 50 years, and are buried in the Greensburg cemetery. My mom grew up in Greensburg and went to school in both the elementary and high school. I spent most of my summers there for 25 years until my grandparents died and have a close connection to Greensburg.

Sharon Poage of Norton, Kansas
We are 150 or so miles from Greensburg but were watching your coverage on the devastation there. I and plenty of other Kansans feel insulted that you made the statement "Strangers helping strangers and families helping families." Greensburg is a small town and there is no such thing as a stranger. Kansans always help each other. So, please, when you do a news story about a Midwestern state: Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri, never refer to anyone as a "stranger."

Cynthia Corless of Lake Mary, Florida
Many thanks for your extended coverage this morning on the Greensburg tornado! My husband and his sister were born and raised there. It has meant much to get up-to-the-minute information and video. They do not have any immediate family members living there, but we do have a multitude of lifelong friends and acquaintances in this small community. My father-in-law served for years as volunteer fire chief and my mother-in-law worked at the doctor's office across from the hospital. I have renewed appreciation for CNN's service and the information provided.

Dan Lykins of Topeka, Kansas
We were at high school track meet in Bucklin, Kansas, a few miles from Greensburg. But the meet was canceled because of bad weather. We decided to return to Pratt, where our son and family live. As we drove through Greensburg I told my wife, "Let's stop here and ride out the storm." But she said, "Let's keep going." The tornado hit Greensburg a few minutes after we got back on the highway.

Jim Lake of Franklin, North Carolina
Why are all the FEMA trailers sitting around not being used? Send them to Greensburg, Kansas.

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People looking for friends or family members from Greensburg should call the American Red Cross in Pratt, Kansas, at 620-672-3651, according to Greensburg City Administrator Steve Hewitt.




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