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Tornado in Pilger leaves casualties

Authorities say a 5-year-old was killed in the northeast Nebraska tornado that destroyed more than half of the town of Pilger. The Stanton County Sheriff's Office confirmed the death in a statement late last night, but did not provide any more details about his or her identity. Several people who were near the town's Main Street suffered critical injuries, as well. So far 19 injuries have been confirmed. The tornado was one of two that touched down in Stanton County. Authorities say the first landed southwest of Stanton around 3:45 p.m. and leveled a farm house. Officials say the second tornado touched down shortly afterward southwest of Pilger before hitting the town. Several major buildings were destroyed, including the Fire Department.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency will still be in response mode this morning as the storm caused "total devastation." The local school is likely damaged beyond repair. Highway 24 from Norfolk to Stanton, and Highway 275 and 15 in Stanton County is closed to the public. A team of six Nebraska Emergency Management Agency staff members provide support to the local response. National Guard members will deploy with the NEMA team to assist local responders and begin assist as needed in cleanup activities. The Nebraska State Patrol Mobile Command Post is on standby. Gov. Dave Heineman will survey the damage around 10:30 a.m.

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