A particularly dangerous situation across the Plains and Midwest has resulted in the "rare and horrifying" occurrence of "twin tornadoes" touching down late Monday afternoon near Pilger, Nebraska. One 5-year-old was killed in the storm, and 19 others were reported injured. According to Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger, up to two-thirds of the the small town of 350 was heavily damaged or destroyed.
“More than half of the town is gone — absolutely gone,” Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt told the Associated Press. “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.” The nearby towns of Wisner, Stanton and Pender, all about 90 miles north of Omaha, suffered damage as well.
The tornadoes, which hit about 1 to 2 miles apart, are believed to have been entirely independent. "Although rare, the phenomenon of simultaneous multiple tornadoes associated with the same severe thunderstorm is not unheard of," notes Mashable's Andrew Freedman. "However, it is extremely rare for both tornadoes to be so intense and long-lasting."
The Associated Press has this footage of the tornadoes carving twin paths of destruction:
Of the truly incredible photos circulating of the twins, Freedman added this disclaimer:
That said, the images need to be seen to be believed: