[Image above courtesy BaseHunters Chasing. Watch full video here: http://youtu.be/Jse6ZwP1g1g]
When you saw those two twisters, you knew that you were watching both history and tragedy unfolding simultaneously.
Around 4:00 pm CT this afternoon, one storm produced two simultaneous, powerful tornadoes that ripped through the small towns of Stanton and Pilger (pronounced Pill-ger, with a hard G, as a viewer pointed out to me) in eastern Nebraska, killing two and destroying at least half of Pilger, according to the local sheriff.
Two tornadoes visible from the same storm are almost unheard of. There’s a famous photo from the 1965 Palm Sunday outbreak in the Midwest of two tornadoes from the same parent storm in Indiana, but the National Weather Service’s Omaha office tweeted that one of those tornadoes was dying off as the picture was taken. In Monday’s storm, the two tornadoes appeared side-by-side at full strength for an excruciating length of time (perhaps as long as half an hour). There’s virtually no precedent for the tornadoes that occurred on Monday afternoon in eastern Nebraska.
Looking at some of the breathtaking (and not in a good way) images, it might turn out to be a miracle that more casualties didn’t occur, considering the tornadoes tracked for as long as an hour and appeared to be of considerable strength (surveys measuring EF-scale strength will be conducted tomorrow by the National Weather Service).
At last check, a preliminary count of 22 tornadoes spawned on Monday, with the majority in central and eastern Nebraska, although a healthy amount have pushed through northern and western Iowa as well. As the night wears on, the primary threats will become damaging straight line winds and large hail, although isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out either.
A rough day, no doubt, particularly those in Pilger and near Norfolk, Nebraska. Our thoughts are with them as they recover and rebuild from today. More severe weather is on the way tomorrow and Wednesday. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as today was.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi