NWS classifies Pilger tornado as EF4 - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

NWS classifies Pilger tornado as EF4

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 PILGER, Neb. (AP) _ The National Weather Service in Valley says the Pilger tornado appears to be an EF4, with estimated wind speeds of 166 to 200 mph.
 
       Meteorologist Van DeWald said Tuesday that survey teams found several damage points that indicate an EF4 tornado, the second-strongest rating on the scale that measures tornado strength.
 
       The National Weather Service says four tornadoes likely touched the ground during the massive storm in northeast Nebraska.
 
       DeWald says the first tornado to touch down west of Stanton has damage that suggests a least an EF3 rating, with wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph. The first tornado is believed to have traveled 15 miles on the ground.
 
       DeWald says crews are still surveying damage and haven't yet determined how long the Pilger tornado was on the ground.

    A spokeswoman for Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk says the hospital is still treating three people who were hurt in Monday's tornado, but their injuries aren't life-threatening.
 
       Hospital marketing director Jacque Genovese said Tuesday that the hospital received 17 patients after the tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska, destroying most of the town of Pilger.
 
       Genovese says three patients were still in the hospital's care for unspecified injuries. The rest have been discharged.

    Authorities have named the 5-year-old girl who was killed in the tornado that destroyed more than half the town of Pilger. Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger identified her as Calista Dixon. Officials say the girl died after suffering injuries inside of a mobile home on Main Street in Pilger. Her death was one of two confirmed in the storm. The other person killed was 74-year-old David A. Herout, of Clarkson. Authorities say Herout died after his vehicle left a county road east of Pilger, and he was ejected. 

    Nebraska's state climatologist says the tornadoes that roared through the Pilger area appear to be rare in their size and intensity.
 
       State Climatologist Al Dutcher said Tuesday that major storms with more than one tornado are fairly common. But in most cases, one twister grows stronger and larger while the other weakens and shrinks.
 
       Dutcher says the strength of both tornadoes likely increased because they had no nearby storms competing for wind and moisture, and the atmosphere was highly unstable.
 
       National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Bryant in Hastings says the number confirmed so far this year is roughly in line the yearly average of about 54.
 
       Van DeWald of the National Weather Service in Valley says the season started quietly but has picked up with tornadoes in mid-May and June.
    Governor Heineman visited Pilger this morning. 
    
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