UPDATED 10:13 AM -- A second death has been linked to the storm that brought twin tornadoes to a tiny farming town in northeastern Nebraska yesterday.
Sheriff's officials had earlier said a 5-year-old girl was killed in the town of Pilger. They now say a motorist also died in a single-vehicle accident near the town as the storm pounded the area.
The storm flattened dozens of homes. The town's 350 residents left after the powerful twisters slammed the area, and authorities closed all roads into town.
A county commissioner says, "More than half of the town is gone -- absolutely gone." He says nearly every home has some damage. Jerry Weatherholt describes the scene as "a complete mess."
The sheriff estimates that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed, and that the school is probably beyond repair.
The storm was part of a larger system that started to track across the nation's midsection. More storms are forecast for today, stretching from eastern Montana to New York, but the system likely won't be as powerful as it was yesterday.
PILGER, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska authorities say dual tornadoes that touched down in a small town about 100 miles northwest of Omaha killed 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.
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