LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska authorities say dual tornadoes that touched down in a small town about 100 miles northwest of Omaha killed two people, including 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.
A hospital spokeswoman says at least one person is dead and 16 others are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska.
Jodi Richey of Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk says the victims were brought into the hospital after at least one of the twisters devastated Pilger. The town of about 350 people is about 100 miles northwest of Omaha.
Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt says at least one of the tornadoes destroyed more than half of Pilger.
The National Weather Service says the tornadoes were about a mile apart. Meteorologists have also been tracking a massive tornado near the town of Burwell, in central Nebraska.