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AKIPRESS.COM - A swarm of tornadoes, some appearing two at a time, struck several farming communities in northeastern Nebraska on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring 16 others in one tiny town obliterated by a direct hit, officials said.
The tornadoes, part of a super-cell thunderstorm system, appeared to be class EF-2 or EF-3 twisters, meaning they packed cyclonic winds of up to 165 miles per hour (265 kph), said Rich Thompson, the lead forecaster for the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, Reuters said.
The village of Pilger, a community several blocks wide and home to roughly 350 residents, appeared to bear the brunt of the storms and the heaviest concentration of casualties after one twister struck in late afternoon, local authorities said.
The entire community, located about 100 miles northwest of Omaha, was ordered to be evacuated. The Pilger storm killed one person and injured at least 16 who were taken to a hospital in nearby Norfolk, Nebraska, Stanton County Sheriff Michael Unger told Reuters.
Thompson said the Storm Prediction Center tracked at least four different twisters in northeastern Nebraska, with one or two sightings of a pair of tornadoes touching down simultaneously.
Additional tornadoes or funnel clouds were detected in central Nebraska, behind the first wave of storms that appeared to dissipate as it moved eastward, weather officials said.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency received reports of injuries and damage throughout Stanton, Cuming and Wayne counties, spokeswoman Jodie Fawl said.