Two dead after tornadoes flatten tiny rural Nebraska town


Associated Press

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

PILGER, Neb. (AP) — A second death has been linked to the storm that brought twin tornadoes to a tiny farming town in northeastern Nebraska yesterday.

Sheriff's officials had earlier said a 5-year-old girl was killed in the town of Pilger. They now say a motorist also died in a single-vehicle accident near the town as the storm pounded the area.

The storm flattened dozens of homes. The town's 350 residents left after the powerful twisters slammed the area, and authorities closed all roads into town.

A county commissioner says, "More than half of the town is gone -- absolutely gone." He says nearly every home has some damage. Jerry Weatherholt describes the scene as "a complete mess."

The sheriff estimates that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed, and that the school is probably beyond repair.

The storm was part of a larger system that started to track across the nation's midsection. More storms are forecast for today, stretching from eastern Montana to New York, but the system likely won't be as powerful as it was yesterday.

%@AP Links

112-a-17-(Deputy Josh Bennett, Stanton County County Sheriff's Office , in AP interview)-"in the wreckage"-Stanton County County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Bennett says one tornado trapped some children in the debris. (17 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *112 (06/17/14)££ 00:17 "in the wreckage"

111-a-19-(Deputy Josh Bennett, Stanton County County Sheriff's Office , in AP interview)-"the next day"-Stanton County County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Bennett says even for seasoned law enforcement officials, this is a surreal experience. (17 Jun 2014)

<<CUT *111 (06/17/14)££ 00:19 "the next day"

APPHOTO RPJF101: The Tuesday morning photo shows Larry Nelson, 73, surveys what's left of his home on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Pilger, Neb. A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through the tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska on Monday. Nelson survived the afternoon tornado by taking shelter in a neighbor's basement. (AP Photo/Josh Funk) (17 Jun 2014)

<<APPHOTO RPJF101 (06/17/14)££