On Monday night, two tornadoes swept through the little town of Pilger, Nebraska. The strong winds obliterated the town’s business district, and the fire station and more than 50 homes were turned into rubble.
Trey Wisniewski said on Tuesday that he heard storm sirens and saw the sky blackening. He rushed with his wife into their basement. “My wife was holding our animals, and I was holding to my wife. We could feel the suction try to pull us out of there,” he said.
According to Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger, about three-fourths of the town is gone, and the rare twin tornadoes left two people dead – five-year-old Calista Dixon, and the other death is from a traffic accident caused by the tornadoes. According to Faith Regional Health Services, 16 people were severely injured.
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Governor Dave Heineman said, “This is by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen as governor.”
Up to 75 percent of buildings in Pilger were completely destroyed or severely damaged. The tornadoes left piles of rubble and bricks on the streets. Wisniewski said that he is amazed that only two people died in the destruction.
The twin tornadoes that tore through Pilger were roughly of the same size, and were about a mile apart. According to Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher, one tornado typically weakens. However, after tearing through Pilger, the two tornadoes merged.
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“It speaks wonders about the amount of instability that was in the atmosphere. This was a highly volatile situation where once something got going, it really got going,” Dutcher said.
Authorities said that the first of the two tornadoes touched down at about 3:45 pm, followed by the second tornado.
Governor Heineman declared a state of emergency. He also asked the National Guard to be on standby in case help is needed. A shelter was also set up for residents who lost their homes.
— The Weather Network (@weathernetwork) June 17, 2014
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