Published On: Thu, Jun 19th, 2014

Pilger Nebraska picking up pieces after twin tornadoes left 2 dead, many injured

At least two people are dead and 16 others are in critical condition after two large tornadoes hit northeast Nebraska, devastating the small town of Pilger and damaging other areas. Residents who were evacuated have been allowed to return home and began searching through the rubble.

twin tornadoes Pilger Nebraska storm chasing videoOfficials say a 5-year-old was killed in Pilger, with another death reported outside the town. Calista Dixon was killed in the family’s mobile home. The girl’s mother is one of the victims in critical condition and her 4-year-old sister survived with only minor injuries.

David Herout, 74, of Clarkson died after being ejected from his vehicle after the twisters moved the car off the road, Cuming County officials said. 

“This is by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen as governor,” said Gov. Dave Heineman, who flew over Pilger in a helicopter Tuesday morning and then walked through the town.

The National Weather Service says the last tornado deaths in the area came 10 years ago.

“Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said up to three-quarters of Pilger, a town of about 350 people, was destroyed Monday,” says CNN. “The severe weather also caused damage in the towns of Wisner, Stanton and Pender.”

The twin tornadoes were photographed and video recorded by Storm Chasers on a remote, rural highway – Check it out below.

“It was terribly wide. I had to get out of there. I drove east. I could see how bad it was. I had to get out of there,” resident Marianne Pesotta tells local TV news KETV.

“Everything is just stuff. I have my boys, and my husband, I’ve got family over here already. It’s just stuff. It’s stuff,” Darcy Slama tells local TV KTIV.

“My dad said that there was dirt coming straight at us, and then saw debris coming, and said, ‘get in the basement right now,’ ” Logan Slama says.

The power of the storms was massive:

The NWS reported a total of five tornadoes in the region. A tornado near Stanton was upgraded to an EF4 on Wednesday after a preliminary survey, and the twin tornadoes that terrorized Pilger have also both been rated at least EF4. The fourth twister, spotted near Pender, was also rated at least EF4 and an initial tornado that touched down briefly in Stanton was rated an EF0. 

Pilger is about 75 miles northwest of Omaha.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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