Two tornadoes destroyed most of Pilger, Neb., and killed two people yesterday.
The tiny town's 350 residents fled their homes on Monday as the rare dual tornadoes flattened houses, businesses and the town's Fire Department building, reports CNN (video below).
“More than half of the town is gone, absolutely gone,” Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt told the Associated Press. “The co-op is gone, the grain bins are gone, and it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It’s a complete mess.”
According to Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger, 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was destroyed: “It’s total devastation."
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A motorist and a 5-year-old girl were killed by the tornadoes while 19 people were taken to area hospitals.
“It’s less common for two tornadoes to track together for so long, especially with that same intensity,” Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told the Associated Press. “By no means is it unprecedented, but we don’t see it often.”
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) has declared a state of emergency. The National Guard, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and local emergency personnel are expected to help residents and clean up what's left of the town.