PILGER, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska authorities say dual tornadoes that touched down in a small town about 100 miles northwest of Omaha killed a 5-year-old and injured at least 19 people, some of them critically.
It happened in Pilger, a community of about 350.
The National Weather Service says the twin twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other.
A county commissioner says more than half the town was wiped out. Many homes were damaged and the structures that were demolished including the co-op grain bins. A sheriff said a school is beyond repair.
The injured had to be taken to three regional hospitals, including a trauma center in Omaha.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency. The National Guard is preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup.
Pilger was evacuated for the night and roads were closed by state police. Some residents were taken to a shelter at a school in a nearby town.
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service says it's unusual that dual tornadoes have funnel clouds of roughly the same strength. Severe weather also damaged nearby counties.
307-c-12-(Josh Funk, AP correspondent)-"town of Wisner"-AP correspondent Josh Funk reports most residents of Pilger appear to have a place to stay, but an emergency shelter has been made available just in case. Updated: 06/16/2014-10:49:09 PM ET (16 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *307 (06/16/14)££ 00:12 "town of Wisner"
306-c-14-(Josh Funk, AP correspondent)-"in that area"-AP correspondent Josh Funk reports authorities say the twisters hammered the town of Pilger, Nebraska. Updated: 06/16/2014-10:49:09 PM ET (16 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *306 (06/16/14)££ 00:14 "in that area"
304-c-14-(Josh Funk, AP correspondent)-"off all access"-AP correspondent Josh Funk reports the small town of Pilger, Nebraska has been devastated by at least two massive tornadoes. (16 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *304 (06/16/14)££ 00:14 "off all access"
305-c-18-(Josh Funk, AP correspondent)-"a home daycare"-AP correspondent Josh Funk reports authorites say the twisters caused at least one death and several critical injuries. (16 Jun 2014)
<<CUT *305 (06/16/14)££ 00:18 "a home daycare"