And those who did escape with their lives have little else. One Kansas family has nowhere to live and came to stay with relatives in Colorado Springs while they decide what to do next.
Karen Scruggs rode out the tornado with her 84-year-old father. Two of her brothers also survived the twister. It was a terrifying experience their family will never forget.
"It just sounded like a freight train coming through," said Scruggs.
She says when she and her dad heard the tornado sirens blare in Greensburg last week they tried to leave, but golf ball sized hail forced them back inside.
"I'm not leaving the trailer with daddy in it in the hail, we climbed into the hallway and rode it out," said Scruggs.
And what Karen says was in reality only a matter of minutes seemed like forever.
"I was sitting there shaking, I don't know how the roof didn't come off," Scruggs said.
"It was kind of scary," said her Dad Elmer Brent.
Across town, Karen's brother Don was stranded outside with only a porch for shelter.
"I stood there holding on to the gate waiting for it to quit," Don Brent said.
He lost everything but Karen had a little more luck.
"My trailers there, it just amazes me," she said.
And even more amazing was her dad's car.
"There was not a tree limb, no dirt on that car. I swear my mom, she passed away last year had her hand over that car saying you have to get out," said Scruggs.
And that's exactly what they did, they drove to Colorado where they have family, a move they say is only temporary, they plan to rebuild in Greensburg, the small town where they were all born and raised.
"I want to go home, that's my home," said Scruggs.
The Brent family plans to head back home to Greensburg on Friday for a visit, they are hoping they will be able to get some answers about what kind of aid is available and begin cleaning-up.
95 percent of the town was destroyed, including city hall, churches, and the hospital.