A pair of large tornadoes have ripped through rural northeastern Nebraska, devastating one small town, causing damage to two others and killing at least one person, reports say.
Reuters says: “The tornadoes, part of a super-cell thunderstorm system, cut a swath across northeastern Nebraska, uprooting trees and leveling homes, officials said. The still-dangerous storm system was headed into northwestern Iowa.”
The town of Pilger, with a population of about 400 and the town of Stanton suffered damage and emergency officials were searching for survivors, Al Vacanti, city administrator for the nearby town of Wisner was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“Pilger is totally destroyed,” Cathy Ruppert, wife of Stanton council member Mike Ruppert, told Reuters. She did not know whether there were injuries.
Sue Roush, a spokesperson for Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has confirmed to NPR that one person was killed when the vehicle they were in near Stanton was picked up and dropped by a twister.
Roush said authorities were expecting more injuries.
KTIV television quotes a spokesperson for Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, Neb., as saying 16 patients are in critical condition and being treated there with tornado-related injuries.
The Associated Press quotes meteorologist Barbara Mayes as saying the tornadoes that touched down were about a mile apart, near the towns of Stanton and Pilger, 100 miles northwest of Omaha.
“Right now, the Nebraska State Patrol has closed off the town of Pilger. No one is being allowed in or out, including volunteers. Norfolk Police Captain Mike Bauer says damage is extensive, resources are in place to help, and they’re asking people to stay away so first responders can do their jobs.”
“Much of eastern Nebraska, northern Iowa and southern Minnesota remained under a tornado watch as of late afternoon. The entire region was under a ‘moderate’ risk of severe storms through the rest of the day, the Storm Prediction Center reported, with violent tornadoes possible.
“Additional storms will roll through Omaha, Neb., Monday, home of the College World Series, AccuWeather predicted.”