Parts of northeast Nebraska have been devastated by an unprecedented phenomenon: two tornadoes touching down simultaneously. At least two persons are dead, over 16 others critically injured and rescue crews are scrambling to dig for others possibly buried under rubble.
At least one of the tornadoes slammed into Pilger, a community of approximately 350 people, 75 miles northwest of Omaha, the National Weather Service reported.
Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger says 50 to 75 percent of the town of Pilger was destroyed.
The storm caused "total devastation" in the town of about 350, Unger said.
"This is a significant storm, and one that I have never seen the likes of, ever. Really," said Dr. Greg Postel, severe weather specialist for The Weather Channel.
This never-seen-before type of destruction is what climate change scientists have predicted and warned for years.
A "Particularly Dangerous Situation" tornado watch was issued Monday afternoon, highlighting the risks ahead of the event.
Crews were soon on the ground in Pilger and nearby communities of Wisner and Stanton, searching for possible further victims trapped under debris, said the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said emergency.
"More than half of the town is gone — absolutely gone," reported Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt. "The co-op is gone. The grains bins are gone. And it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."
Every building for five or six blocks suffered damage from the tornado, storm chaser Brian Davidson told Omaha.com.
One home had a car thrown inside by the twister, he said.
"It's very chaotic here right now."