Devastation in Nebraska after twin tornadoes


Two tornadoes touch down in Nebraska on Monday. (Dustin Wilcox/TwisterChasers/Reuters)

The images captured when a pair of tornadoes ravaged a portion of northeast Nebraska on Monday are otherworldly, the shocking nature of these visuals exceeded only by the “war zone”-like devastation left behind.

How often does something like this happen? Small tornadoes can crop up and orbit bigger twisters, but it’s much rarer to see two gigantic tornadoes touch down in the same area, as Jason Samenow explains. (A very well-documented case occurred in April 1965.)

Emergency responders are searching the wide area hit by the twisters, which touched down in Stanton, Cuming and Wayne counties. The sheriff of Stanton County said Tuesday morning that he believed 75 percent of the community is “gone.” Jerry Weatherholt, the Stanton County commissioner, said that it appeared as though nearly every home in Pilger had some damage.

Gov. Dave Heineman (R) declared a state of emergency after the storms. Access to Pilger was limited to emergency vehicles after the tornadoes, while major highways were closed in the area. The state’s National Guard deployed with Nebraska Emergency Management Agency teams to search search debris and aid in the cleanup.

At least two people were killed, according to the Associated Press: A driver in Cuming County and a 5-year-old girl. In addition, at least 19 people were taken to hospitals. It’s unclear whether these numbers will rise as emergency workers continue searching the debris and the storm wreckage.

The Capital Weather Gang has a roundup of videos showing the apocalyptic scene. And here’s more on the science of dueling tornadoes as well as images from Nebraska.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · June 16