A rare occurrence of twin tornadoes ripped through a small farming town in Nebraska on Monday night, killing at least two people, weather expert Jeff Masters reported on his blog at website Weather Underground.
The tornadoes destroyed 75 percent of Pilger town (population: 380) in northeastern Nebraska, including the entire business district, according to Sheriff Mike Unger of the Stanton County Sheriff’s office. The church, school, and fire department buildings were demolished.
Omaha’s National Weather Service said the tornado deaths were the first in Nebraska in more than a decade.
Masters said the severe weather disturbance was part of a tornado outbreak that brought 19 tornadoes to Nebraska and Iowa, injuring at least 19 people.
While it is common for large, violent tornadoes to form multiple funnels that rotate around each other, the twin tornadoes that hit Pilger were not the standard “multi-vortex” systems, he said.
The Pilger tornadoes were separated by two to three miles, and were both spawned by an isolated supercell thunderstorm.
“A rotating supercell thunderstorm typically has just one center of rotation and spawns only one tornado, but Monday’s storm was so massive that it was able to form two centers of rotation that each spawned large and destructive tornadoes,” Masters said.
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