Twin Tornadoes Hit Nebraska

2 dead, at least 16 injured

Jun 17, 2014
Outside Magazine

It's not unheard of for two tornadoes to form at once, but it's rare for them to continue spinning next to each other for a long time and at high intensity.    TVNweather/YouTube

The village of Pilger, Nebraska's motto is "the little town too tough to die." Those words are more relevant than ever as Pilger recovers from two devastating tornadoes that tore through eastern parts of the state on Monday evening. The twisters left two dead and dozens injured and leveled significant portions of towns.

Pilger has a population of 346 (as of 2012), and all residents evacuated in advance, despite doubts that a tornado would ever hit the little town. (Resident Becky Hauf told CNN that local folklore stipulated Pilger was too close to the Elkhorn River to ever see a tornado.) At one point, however, two twisters were spinning within a mile of each other, and both directly hit Pilger. Meteorologists told the Washington Post that it's rare for two tornadoes to keep going next to each other for as long as these did and at such an intensity.

The damage from these storms reflects that. A five-year-old girl was killed in her mobile home, and one person died in a traffic accident. The most recent reports say that 19 people were critically injured. According to Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt, "More than half [of Pilger] is gone—absolutely gone." Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said that about 50 homes have been reduced to rubble.

A severe thunderstorm risk remains today as rescue efforts continue. In the meantime, stormchasers and local residents have been posting videos of the rare storms showing just how massive these twisters were. Take a look: