One person dead and 19 injured by Nebraska tornadoes

Jun 17, 2014 by Josh Funk
Two tornados approach Pilger, Neb., Monday June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other Monday in northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Eric Anderson)

A powerful storm with tornadoes ripped through northeast Nebraska on Monday, destroying more than half of the tiny town of Pilger, killing a 5-year-old child and injuring at least 19 people, hospital and emergency officials said.

The National Weather Service said dual twisters touched down within roughly a mile (1.6 kilometers) of each other. Emergency crews and residents spent the evening sorting through demolished homes and businesses in the community of about 350, roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Omaha.

"More than half of the town is gone—absolutely gone," Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt said. "The co-op is gone, the grain bins are gone, and it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."

Victims were taken to three regional hospitals, and at least one had died from unspecified injuries, hospital officials said.

Jodi Richey, a spokeswoman for Faith Regional Health Services in nearby Norfolk, said one person died and 16 others were being treated at the hospital. Hospital officials initially described those patients as being in critical condition, but said later that some had been released after treatment.

The Stanton County Sheriff's Office confirmed late Monday that the person killed was a 5-year-old child. It didn't specify the child's gender.

One was transferred to a trauma center in Omaha, while others required surgery, said Dr. Doug Dilly, who was in the emergency room when patients arrived.

Providence Medical Center in nearby Wayne treated three tornado patients, including two who had lacerations, said hospital spokeswoman Sandy Bartling. Two were released Monday evening, and the third patient was in stable condition, she said.

A tornado forms over a house near Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger estimated that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed in the storm. The local school is likely beyond repair, he said.

"It's total devastation," Unger said.

Authorities said the first tornado touched down around 3:45 p.m. and downed several power lines before it leveled a farmhouse. Four people were trapped inside.

While local crews removed them from the debris, a second tornado was spotted southwest of Pilger, according to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office. Shortly afterward, the town suffered a "direct hit" that leveled several buildings, including the Fire Department building, the sheriff's office said. Several people near Main Street in Pilger suffered critical injuries, including the child who later died.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup. Heineman and officials with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive Tuesday morning.

Pilger was evacuated for the night, and the Nebraska State Patrol closed all roads into town. Most residents made their own arrangements, but some were taken to a shelter at Wisner-Pilger Jr.-Sr. High School in nearby Wisner.

About a dozen residents had arrived at the makeshift shelter by 9:30 p.m., and school officials were expecting more to come later, said Wisner-Pilger Schools Superintendent Chad Boyer. The shelter will remain open to residents for as long as needed to offer food, water, showers and cots, he said.

Rescue personnel tend to a young tornado victim in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. A hospital spokeswoman says at least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

Tornadoes also caused damage in Cuming and Wayne counties, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said in a news release.

"We are still in a response mode in these communities," said Earl Imler, NEMA's operations officer. "We are collecting damage reports from local officials on the ground."

Officials won't know the intensity of the storms until late Tuesday at the earliest, after crews have examined the area, said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.

Firefighters go door to door and check homes for people after a tornado struck in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The World-Herald, Ryan Soderlin)

Mayes said the dual tornadoes were unusual because both appeared to have roughly the same strength. In most cases, she said, one tornado tends to be larger and more powerful than the other, and the bigger cyclone grows stronger as the smaller one weakens.

"It's less common for two tornadoes to track together for so long, especially with that same intensity," she said. "By no means is it unprecedented. But we don't see it often."

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service also tracked a tornado near the town of Burwell, in central Nebraska. Mayes said they had not received reports of damage.

A home is seen after a tornado on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Severely damaged homes and buildings are seen after a tornado on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Severely damaged homes and buildings are seen after a tornado on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Severely damaged homes and buildings are seen after a tornado on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Damaged cars are parked in front of a garage that was torn down by a tornado on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Pam Lempke, left, looks out the window of her mother and stepfathers' home toward the damaged area, as her step-father Jerry Carstens stands outside on Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

Residents evacuate the town after a tornado severely damaged the area Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger, Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

A door is marked after it was searched by rescue workers Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The World-Herald, Ryan Soderlin)

Pam Lempke, of Wakefield, stands by her parents' home and surveys the damaged area in Pilger, Neb., on Monday, June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Stacie Scott)

A man holds a girl after she was pulled from the basement of her destroyed home in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. A hospital spokeswoman says at least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

Firefighters go door to door and check homes for people after a tornado struck in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The World-Herald, Ryan Soderlin)

Tim Nelson searches for survivors in Pilger, Neb., after the town was hit by a tornado Monday June 16, 2014. Ast least one person has died due to the storm. (AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald/Ryan Soderlin) MAGS OUT; ALL NEBRASKA LOCAL BROADCAST TV OUT

A police officer exits the Wisner-Pilger Middle School after checking for people stuck inside Monday, June 16, 2014, in Pilger Neb. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. (AP Photo/The World-Herald, Ryan Soderlin)


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cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Jun 18, 2014
Apparently there was an ionospheric disturbance over the EF-5 tornado in Moore, OK last year;
http://www.nict.g...1-1.html

Five days prior to that there was an X-class CME on the Sun.

I'm curious if there was a similar ionospheric disturbance over these tornadoes. Of course there were three X-class CME's last week as well.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2014
Another opportunity to re-build with tornado proof structures like monolithic concrete domes.
http://www.monoli...benefits
barakn
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2014
CD doesn't explicitly state that he assumes X-class flares cause tornadoes, or at least extreme EF-5 ones, but previous statements suggest so. What he fails to explain is why in North America, 147 suspected or confirmed EF-5 or F-5 tornadoes occurred in the months of March, April, May, and June while only 13 occurred in the remaining 8 months of the year ( http://en.wikiped...ornadoes ). X-class flares occur independently of what month it is, naturally. Nor does the X-class flare theory explain why these tornadoes are strongly confined to certain geographical areas. Just the usual hand-flapping from CD, devoid of any actual statistics or plausible mechanisms.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2014
Of course excess energy is the cause of extreme weather, but why should I be surprised by the straw man response.

This article describes a discovery of a couple of electric currents flowing through the ionosphere;

http://www.berkel...er.shtml

From the article;

"This discovery has immediate implications for space weather, identifying four sectors on the Earth where space storms may produce greater ionospheric disturbances. North America is in one of these sectors, which may help explain why the U.S. suffers uniquely extreme ionospheric conditions during space weather events," he added.

See that? "North America is in on of those sectors"... There are very likely seasonal effects as well, you know the orientation of the NA in relation to the currents and such. As the orientation changes the energy may then be directed at the oceans where those disturbances the affect hurricanes.
http://link.sprin...X#page-1
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.

http://www.scienc...abstract
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.
http://www.scienc...abstract
@cd
well, its OBVIOUS that you cannot access the entire article, and so you grasp at straws... the ONLY cite that article had is also linked on that page... which states
Laboratory data on
a vortex-stabilized arc suggest that its contribution to energy of a tornado would be small
and even IN the article itself
a laboratory vortex can be formed and maintained by electrical heating
under various conditions...

THE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SMALL

tornado's formation is well known and though heating has an effect, it is the collision between warm moist air and cold air http://www.tornad...ado.html

http://www.weathe...orm.html

try some REAL SCIENCE once in a while, you might be interested and learn something
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
the vortex stabilizes the discharge, which in turn drives the vortex by electrical heating
even in the article you quote, the electrical discharge requires the atmosphere.

given what we KNOW about the tornado, which is its formation by mixing moist low pressure with high, then we can also state that it is more likely that the HEAT was creating the vortex in the lab than the electricity. as in the OTHER linked study that cited your link
It has been suggested that...electrical heating may contribute significantly to the energy of the tornado. This, however, has been questioned on the ground that there is insufficient electrical activity present to be instrumental in the formation or maintenance of the tornado
observation and experimentation prove you wrong, cd
So your conjecture is ALREADY PROVEN false and you are clinging to old straws that have been scientifically proven unfeasible YET AGAIN

want to read more? feel free to send me an e-mail
I can fwd both WHOLE studies
Scroofinator
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.


Which makes me wonder what would happen if we air dropped a strong EMP in the center of a tornado?

tornado's formation is well known

Right, we have them tornadoes figured out so well we can predict them before they start... To think electricity plays only a tiny role, without any true data to support the claim, is nonsense. Remember the Joplin tornado?
https://www.youtu...CtF5ljxY
It was one of the fastest growing tornadoes of all time. In 30 seconds it goes from funnel cloud to massive tornado, immediately after it hits some power lines. Coincidence? Maybe, but to completely dismiss electricity's involvement is just foolish.
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2014
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.

http://www.scienc...abstract -cantdrive85

Do you always misinterpret what you read? The paper said "may play a significant role" and somehow you read that as "proved."
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
but to completely dismiss electricity's involvement is just foolish
@scroof
didn't say I was dismissing electricity involvement, did I?
we have them tornadoes figured out so well we can predict them before they start
actually, we do pretty well predicting what weather is capable of spawning tornadoes (IOW- before they start)...
now, predicting when it will funnel and touch ground?
or where it will track?
or how large it will get?
(which is pretty much what you are alluding to above) that is a little hard at this time
To think electricity plays only a tiny role, without any true data to support the claim
I guess you missed that paper linked above? try reading this: http://www.scienc...full.pdf

I am not making a claim "without and true data": read the study (and the other links). If you CAN'T, then either get an AAAS membership or find my e-mail and ask
supamark23
5 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.

http://www.scienc...abstract


Holy crap, you say a lot of stupid things but this takes the cake. You know what actually causes tornadoes? warm moist air being undercut by cold air, causing supercell storms from which the tornadoes arise due to rotation. the unique geography of the US is why we have so many.
Scroofinator
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2014
@Capn
You said:
THE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SMALL

which leads one to believe your essentially dismissing electricity's influence.

actually, we do pretty well predicting what weather is capable of spawning tornadoes (IOW- before they start)...


Yes we do have a probabilistic model, but not a good predictive model. With our current tech, we can witness a tornado on radar, but we can't take real time windspeeds and say " a tornado WILL form here". Once we can do that, then we can say we a tornadoes formation is well known. Essentially we have Warm Air+Cold Air+n1+n2...=tornado. We know of two key components, but we're still missing alot in the equation.

As for your article, I don't have access. Care to provide some cliff notes?
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
which leads one to believe your essentially dismissing electricity's influence
@scroof
I said the contributions are small because of the specific wording of the abstract of the second study which I linked to you, which states
Laboratory data on a vortex-stabilized arc suggest that its contribution to energy of a tornado would be small
IOW - the contributions are small
just passing on info from the study
As for your article, I don't have access
it would be better for you to read exactly what is said. That way no one is second guessing my intent, decision to use a certain word, etc

if you want, set up a profile on http://www.sciforums.com you can get my e-mail by looking up "thermo"'s profile and looking at my posts on his page. my moniker is Truck Captain Stumpy there.

addendum: remember that the article is from 1978 so even MORE info is known today about stuff commented on in the study
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2014
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge.

http://www.scienc...abstract -cantdrive85

Do you always misinterpret what you read? The paper said "may play a significant role" and somehow you read that as "proved."

I have never claimed it as being proof or proved, merely evidence or plausible explanation.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2014
I have never claimed it as being proof or proved, merely evidence or plausible explanation
@cd
when you stated this
It has also been shown, over 40 years ago, that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge
while citing a debunked 40 year old article...
well, it looks tome like you are saying that tornadoes are a form of electric discharge and using a debunked paper for support! which means you are trying to prove something!

you REALLY should have read the entire paper before using it as a citation for support... after all, the page you linked had the ONLY citation for said paper (a big red flag) and THAT PAPER also should have been read before making the claim...

but this is your MO: unsubstantiated claims, backed by outdated or debunked papers as well as blatant fallacy wrapped in sugar-coated conspiracy dunked in delusion.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2014
Tornadoes as a 'charge sheath vortex';

http://www.peter-...dex.html

And it would seem tornadoes are rather ubiquitous in nature.

Solar tornadoes...
http://news.natio...oes.html

Mars...
http://www.univer...on-mars/

Venus...
http://www.edu.pe...enus.htm

Giant space tornadoes connecting planets to the Sun...
http://www.nasa.g...oes.html

http://news.natio...ras.html

And they get even bigger...
http://www.dailyg...ova.html

We can conjure up different mechanisms for all these phenomena, or we can fall back on Occam's Razor and accept Mr. Thompson's simple explanation of a charge sheath vortex to explain them all. A simple explanation of an electric discharge is too difficult for many to understand. Keep it simple...