Dual Tornadoes Destroy Nebraska Town

Two people, including a 5-year-old child, are dead after a pair of tornadoes ripped through a small Nebraska town.

Officials say the town of Pilger, Nebraska was obliterated when a pair of tornadoes about a mile apart struck the town.  The National Storm Prediction Center said that the twisters appeared to be EF-2 or EF-3 with maximum cyclonic winds of 165 miles per hour.

“Pilger is gone,” Sanford Goshorn, Stanton County Director of Emergency Management told Reuters.  “The tornado cut right through the center of town.”  He said all the services to the town from electricity to water were gone.  The entire community was evacuated under order of emergency management officials.

A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Omaha said that two powerful tornadoes on the ground at the same time in the same location is very rare.  The Storm Prediction Center said they recorded at least four tornadoes touching down in the area of the deadly supercell.

Area hospitals reported at least 16 people were hospitalized in critical condition.

University of Alabama Swimmer Dies Saving Girlfriend

A swimmer on the University of Alabama swim team made the ultimate sacrifice saving his girlfriend during Monday’s tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa.

John Servati, 21, was taking shelter with his girlfriend when a concrete wall began to collapse on them.  Servati used his strength to hold up the wall so his girlfriend could escape before it collapsed upon him.

Servati was rescued by emergency personnel but died at DCH Regional Medical Center later that night from his injuries.

“John Servati was an extraordinary young man of great character and warmth who had a tremendously giving spirit,” Alabama coach Dennis Pursley said.  “During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out ot his family and to all who had the good fortune to know him.”

Servati’s girlfriend suffered only superficial injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.  She is currently with her family dealing with her boyfriend’s death.

Tornado Outbreak Kills At Least 18

A series of major tornadoes broke out across the south and Midwest Sunday night leaving at least 18 dead.

Officials in Arkansas say a tornado that at one point had a base half a mile wide ripped through Little Rock suburbs Vilonia and Mayflower.  The mayor of Vilonia told FoxNews that the tornado essentially obliterated his town’s downtown business district.

Authorities say the tornado first touched down around 7 p.m. and caused destruction along an 80-mile path.  A brand new intermediate school built with $14 million in taxpayer dollars and scheduled to open in the fall was destroyed.

“We’re probably going to have to start all over again,” Vilonia Schools Superintendent Frank Mitchell said.

Arkansas officials said that a tornado struck on Interstate 40 destroying cars and leaving tractor trailers in twisted heaps.

Another twister destroyed most of Quapaw, Oklahoma and left one person dead before turning into Kansas and destroying over 70 homes in Baxter Springs.

Sunday Tornadoes Could Rank Among Illinois’ Strongest Ever

Meteorologists looking at preliminary data say the EF-4 tornadoes that Washington and New Minden, Illinois could be some of the strongest to ever strike the state.

An EF-4 tornado has wind gusts between 166 and 200 miles per hour.

Greg Carbin of the National Weather Service said that Illinois gets violent tornadoes in November about every 7 to 10 years so the storms Sunday cannot be called rare but the strength of the storms is rare.

Illnois has had only 27 EF-4 and 2 EF-5 tornadoes since 1950 and before Sunday none of the strong twisters struck during November.

The storm devastated the town of Washington, Illlnois, cutting an 1/8th mile wide path of destruction through the entire town. Residents Phil and Carmen Jones lost their family home of 40 years in the storm and say they’ll have to start all over at age 75.

Carmen tried to look at the positives.

“We don’t have to rip that wallpaper off now,” she said.

Midwestern Tornadoes Leave Six Dead

At least six people are confirmed dead after a Sunday outbreak of tornadoes across the Midwest.

The town of Washington, Illinois was devastated by a massive tornado that tore an 1/8th mile wide track through the entire town. Mayor Gary Manier said that up to 500 homes have been damaged or destroyed and that some neighborhoods are completely destroyed.

“How people survived is beyond me,” Manier said.

The tornadic storms are considered unusual for mid-November. Damaging winds and tornadoes were reported in 12 states: Michigan, Iowa, Illnois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.

The storms moved so fast at times that weather forecasters were warning people to see shelter even before they could see a change in the weather.

The storm threatened the Chicago area forcing the game between the NFL’s Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens to be delayed for two hours as teams and spectators huddled under the stadium.

Veteran Storm Chasers Killed In Oklahoma

Thirteen people are confirmed dead after a tornado outbreak this weekend in Oklahoma including three veteran storm chasers.

Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and Carl Young were featured on the TV show “Storm Chasers” and founded TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Stample in Tornadoes Experiment.) The men were killed in El Reno, Oklahoma by an EF-3 tornado that abruptly changed direction and caught them off guard. Continue reading

Bad Weather Hampers Oklahoma Cleanup Efforts

Moore, Oklahoma is struggling to clean up after the massive EF-5 tornado that obliterated entire neighborhoods because of thunderstorms, hail and flash flooding.

The storms, which will continue through the weekend, are coming as the funerals for the victims are starting. Antonia Candelaria, 9, one of the seven students crushed under debris when the twister hit the Plaza Towers Elementary School head-on, was laid to rest today. Continue reading