SEE: Twin tornadoes leave 5-year-old dead, at least 16 critically injured
Twin tornadoes slammed into northeast Nebraska on Monday afternoon, killing a 5-year-old child and critically injuring at least 16 more people.
According to the National Weather Service, the tornadoes touched down within a mile of each other, with the first occurring at around 3:45 p.m. The two deadly twisters also reportedly left one small town, Pilger, a community of about 350 people, completely devastated, forcing rescue crews and residents to dig through rubble and demolished homes to check for survivors.
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Authorities say the tornadoes also knocked down power lines and leveled several buildings. The town of Pilger was evacuated for the night and local police closed all roads into town. Nebraska governor Dave Heineman has since declared a state of emergency and the National Guard was preparing to deploy to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup. Residents are expected to be escorted back into town by law enforcement early this morning.
The child's death was confirmed by the Stanton County Sheriff's Office late Monday. Meanwhile, 19 people are undergoing treatment for injuries, with 16 of those in critical condition.
I can't even begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been for everyone in that entire town to be stuck right in the middle of two almost simultaneous tornadoes. A natural disaster like this is always unexplainably devastating, especially for the people who have lost their homes or, in a much, much worse case, their loved ones in this horrific storm. My heart breaks for the family of that 5-year-old child and my prayers go out to all of them, along with all the other victims and the entire affected community.
Image via Thinkstock
Have you ever experienced a natural disaster in your hometown?