Damage is being assessed near Pilger, NE after tornadoes level h - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Damage is being assessed near Pilger, NE after tornadoes level half of the town

PILGER, NE (KTIV/US92) - Damage was already being assessed Monday evening from the air over Pilger, Nebraska. The occasionally half mile wide tornado made a diagonal path through the town of 400 people.

The storm's path of destruction started shortly before four o'clock, Monday afternoon, in Stanton County, Nebraska.

The county's emergency manager told KTIV that half of the village of Pilger was "leveled". In fact, officials are now saying that over 75% of the village has significant damage.

Highway 24 from Norfolk to Stanton, and Highway 275 and 15 in Stanton County, is closed. Motorists are urged to stay off the roadways to allow emergency services to respond.

"I've been telling people for many, many years that I've never seen a tornado in my life and I grew up in Northeast Nebraska," Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said.  "Well, I got a -- it wasn't a wish -- but I got to see something today I wish I never would have seen.  It's quite an event to see it up close. To see the tornado go by and then the devastation is unreal until you actually see it."

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has issued state of emergency.
He's planning to visit the Pilger area Tuesday morning with a team from Nebraska's Emergency Management Agency to look over the damage caused by the severe storms.

Gov. Heineman said, "I will fly a National Guard helicopter up to the area to survey what's going on, but right now we're just concerned about the safety of everyone in that area. I want them to know that we're watching this very very closely and again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families."

Heineman said that as cleanup and recovery efforts begin, he will making all state resources available to those in Pilger and throughout Stanton County.

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