Nebraska town nearly destroyed by tornado - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Nebraska town nearly destroyed by tornado

Updated:
PILGER, Neb. -

Dramatic video is providing a look at a powerful tornado that struck eastern Nebraska on Monday. A storm chaser got up close and personal with the twister as it spawned a twin.

At least two people were killed and 16 others were in critical condition after the storm roared through Pilger, Nebraska.

The damage is widespread in Pilger.

"City hall is gone. The fire department is destroyed. The public library has severe damage. Homes are probably damaged beyond repair or destroyed," said Mike Unger, Stanton County sheriff.

The early estimate is that 75 percent of this farming community has been completely wiped away by a pair of twin tornadoes churning across northeastern Nebraska Monday afternoon.

"It started off as a large stove pipe tornado but quickly translated into those two side by side violent tornadoes which was something I'd never seen in my life before," said Ben McMillan, storm chaser.

Pilger took a direct hit. At least two people died in the storms. One of those victims a five-year-old girl.

As the twisters cut their deadly path across this community, homes, buildings and lives were splintered in just minutes.

"You are just in a state of shock because you can't believe it can be gone so fast," said one resident.

The tornadoes were part of a widespread storm system that also spawned apparent twisters as far north as Wisconsin, but Pilger seemed to get the worst of it.

The governor has declared a state of emergency and the National Guard has been called in to a community that years ago adopted the motto "a town too tough to die," showing a resolve that perhaps has never been tested like it is right now.

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