Tuesday, June 17, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Italy's Mount Etna Erupts Again, Shutting Down Sicily's Major Airport, Diverting Flights - See Spectacular Video Of The World’s Most Active Volcano!

June 17, 2014 - ITALY - Mount Etna, considered the world’s most active volcano, blew its top again Sunday night, putting on an awe-inspiring display of nature’s fireworks for local residents along the east coast of Sicily. Mount Etna has been active all year, last erupting in November of 2013.




The Mount Etna eruption happened after dark local time in Sicily, allowing for some incredible video of the eruption, as the volcano blasted plume after plume of flaming lava into the atmosphere. Thankfully, residents in the area were not believed to be in any danger from the explosions.

The eruptions continued well into Monday, forcing a local airport in the nearest city, Catania, to close down. Several flights were diverted due to the thick volcanic ash that hindered visibility high in the air.

Mount Etna is also the tallest volcano in Europe and the tallest Italian mountain not part of the Alps, in the north of the country. The height of Mount Etna is listed at just under 11,000 feet, but geologists concede that the measurement is only an estimate because the height of the mountain changes every time Mount Etna erupts, which is often, blowing away parts of itself with each blast.


The lava flows from Etna's New SE crater seen on the thermal webcam on Monte Cagliato (INGV Catania) this morning

Current tremor amplitude (ESLN station, INGV Catania)


The record of Mount Etna’s eruptions has been traced back by researchers to 2,750 years ago. But scientists say that myths and legends from even earlier may also refer to eruptions of the volcanic mountain. Geologists say that Mount Etna has likely been erupting on a regular basis for about 500,000 years, a time frame they are able to determine from analyzing rocks around the mountain.

The ancient Greek myth of the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, being kidnapped by the underworld god Hades is believed to refer to a crop failure that resulted from a massive series of Mount Etna eruptions in 1400 B.C.


WATCH: Mount Etna erupts.

 



A 2012 geological study found that eruptions of Mount Etna generate enough lava every single year to fill the 108-story Willis Tower, aka Sears Tower, in Chicago.

Mount Etna has five distinct craters which erupt on a regular basis, as well as “flank eruptions,” when the side of the mountain blows up, spewing lava and ash. Sunday’s eruption came from the South Crater of Mount Etna.

While residents of Catania and surrounding towns will not be affected directly by lava flow from when Mount Etna erupts, the noise from the mountain’s frequent explosions during the current eruption cycle have proven to a be a nuisance, as has the ash clouding the sky. - Inquisitr.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Swarm Of Earthquakes In Alaska Puzzles Scientists - Over 300 Small Aftershocks Following A Strong 5.7 Magnitude Tremor!

June 17, 2014 - ALASKA - A moderate earthquake shook northwest Alaska on Monday, the fifth temblor of the same magnitude since April in an area with otherwise little activity, seismologists said.




The magnitude-5.7 quake struck at 4:01 a.m. Monday northeast of the village of Noatak, the Alaska Earthquake Center reported. As with other temblors in the earthquake swarm, the quake was felt in Noatak, an Inupiat Eskimo community of 560 people.

"It woke me up," said resident Alvin Ashby. "Some people slept through it."

People there aren't used to earthquakes, and these have some residents worried, said Ashby, who has lived in the community most of his life.

Before the swarm that began April 18, the last known quake of similar size in the area was a magnitude-5.5 quake that occurred in 1981, earthquake center seismologist Natasha Ruppert said.

The swarm of magnitude-5.7 quakes is connected to more than 300 smaller aftershocks, some with magnitudes in the high 3s, Ruppert said. The first quake and the others of that magnitude have been located in roughly the same area about 20 miles from Noatak. The community is 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle.


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Monday's quake was preceded by one minute by a magnitude-4.2 foreshock and followed by at least 10 aftershocks.

Minor damage from the earthquakes includes cracks in walls in Noatak, but no injuries have been reported.

Ruppert said old seismic faults have been mapped in the area, but there are no known active faults, although that doesn't mean there aren't any. She said sometimes surface fault scars could be hidden by vegetation or glacial deposits.

"Obviously, since we are having all this earthquake activity, there must be some active faults in the area," Ruppert said.

Since the first of the swarms occurred, seismic sensors have been installed in Noatak and the regional hub town of Kotzebue, 55 miles south. Ruppert said the sensors help gather more accurate information about the earthquakes.

The series of earthquakes has scientists puzzled about activity that is considered very unusual in the area.

"At this point, we don't really understand the nature of these earthquakes," Ruppert said.

Ruppert said she doesn't believe there is any connection between the quakes and the Red Dog Mine, located about 35 miles north of Noatak.

"All mining activities are very near the surface," Ruppert said. "And all the earthquakes are miles below the surface." - ABC News.



SODOM & GOMORRAH NOW: The Rise Of The Homosexual Agenda And Civilization Collapse - The United States Thrusts "Gay" Agenda Upon The World!

June 17, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Barack Obama has integrated promotions of homosexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices into his policy and practice since his election, successfully promoting the “gay” lifestyle in the U.S. military and forbidding the enforcement of the federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act that supported traditional marriage.





The extent of the reach of his actions perhaps was epitomized by last week’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy in Israel was flying a rainbow flag – representing homosexual activism – along with Old Glory.

But now a coalition in Congress, made up exclusively of Democrats, wants to take the effort further and make promoting LGBT “human rights” a “priority for the U.S. government worldwide.”

Prepared by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the “International Human Rights Defense Act” would demand that the State Department “make preventing and responding to discrimination and violence against the LGBT community a foreign policy priority and devise a global strategy to achieve those goals.”

It also would create a job for a federal bureaucrat specifically to do those promotions.

Markey, who was joined by more than a dozen other Democrats in affirming the new guidance for a worldwide campaign for the U.S., said in a statement on Friday there are more than 80 nations around the world that criminalize homosexuality.

“In seven countries, homosexuality is punishable by death,” his announcement noted.

“For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere,” Markey said. “The International Human Rights Defense Act will foster a coordinated effort across the federal government and relevant agencies so we can meet the enormous challenge before us and work to ensure equality for all people around the globe.”

Cheryl Chumley, author of the newly released “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” said it’s another example of the government using its authority and power to pursue a special interest for Obama – far beyond where the Constitution allows it to go.

“Markey wants our U.S. State Department to take a politically charged stand on homosexual rights and try and push his liberal views onto other governments. Really? Doesn’t America under President Obama have enough problems with its foreign policy without jumping into the hot-bed that’s called gay rights?” she said.

“You know, countries like Yemen, Iran and Qatar punish homosexuality with death,” Chumley said. “So do Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as several other Muslim-dominated nations where Shariah law is woven into the politics and culture. Is it Markey’s contention that the State Department’s new rightful role should be to demand these nations cease and desist what he sees as a discriminatory practice?” she continued.

“Just look at what’s going on in Iraq right now, with the mass execution of U.S.-backed government forces and the Democrat-controlled administration’s inability to deal effectively with this growing aggression. This current administration already has a track record of failure and a reputation of weakness on all-things-international. A bill like Markey’s just adds to the reputation of the United States under President Obama as feckless,” Chumley said.

“On top of that, a bill like this just reeks of special interest agenda, and – just as our nation’s military under Obama is tasked with pursuing a radical environmental agenda, or NASA under Obama tasked with boosting the self-esteem of Muslim nations by emphasizing their space contributions – it makes our country’s top diplomats push forward with a public relations message that’s sure to do one thing: Make America look even more impotent on the international stage.”

Markey’s plan is so new the actual wording hadn’t yet been released.

But in addition to Obama’s wide-ranging promotions of homosexuality throughout society, his vice president, Joe Biden, says the chief executive should be using his Oval Office authority to ban workplace discrimination for federal contractors regarding “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.”

“I don’t see any downside,” Biden recently told the Huffington Post when asked about Obama taking executive action.

As far back as 2008, Obama made commitments to pursue promotions of LGBT issues.

Markey’s plan specifically would require the federal government to “make preventing and responding to discrimination and violence against the LGBT community a foreign policy priority.”

It also would coordinate campaigns to “promote international LGBT human rights” and create a federal “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Peoples.”

Others supporting the idea include Sens. Charles Schumer, N.Y.; Patty Murray, Wash.; Barbara Boxer, Calif.; Ben Cardin, Md.; Chris Murphy, Conn.; Tammy Baldwin, Wis.; Elizabeth Warren, Mass.; Jeff Merkley, Ore.; Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.; Marla Cantwell, Wash.; Richard Blumenthal, Conn.; Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I.; Mazie Hirono, Hawaii; Dick Durbin, Ill.; Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Patrick Leahy, Vt.; Brian Schatz, Hawaii; Ron Wyden, Ore.; Cory Booker, N.J.; Chris Coons, Del.; Dianne Feinstein, Calif.; Barbara Mikulski, Md.; Al Franken, Minn.; and Jeanne Shaheen, N.H.

All are Democrats.

A wide range of homosexual activist groups endorsed the idea.

Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights praised Markey for his work that “speaks truth to power.”

“This historic legislation … will entrench the protection of LGBT people around the world as a policy priority of the Untied States and reflect our role as a beacon of decency and freedom. - WND.



MONUMENTAL SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: More Evidence Of "PLANET X" - Spanish Astronomers Discover TWO New Giant Planets In Our Solar System, Just Beyond Pluto!

June 17, 2014 - SPACE - The monsters are multiplying. Just months after astronomers announced hints of a giant "Planet X" lurking beyond Pluto, a team in Spain says there may actually be two supersized planets hiding in the outer reaches of our solar system.




When potential dwarf planet 2012 VP113 was discovered in March, it joined a handful of unusual rocky objects known to reside beyond the orbit of Pluto. These small objects have curiously aligned orbits, which hints that an unseen planet even further out is influencing their behaviour. Scientists calculated that this world would be about 10 times the mass of Earth and would orbit at roughly 250 times Earth's distance from the sun.

Now Carlos and Raul de la Fuente Marcos at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain have taken another look at these distant bodies. As well as confirming their bizarre orbital alignment, the pair found additional puzzling patterns. Small groups of the objects have very similar orbital paths. Because they are not massive enough to be tugging on each other, the researchers think the objects are being "shepherded" by a larger object in a pattern known as orbital resonance.

Planet shepherd

For instance, we know that Neptune and Pluto are in orbital resonance – for every two orbits Pluto makes around the sun, Neptune makes three. Similarly, one group of small objects seems to be in lockstep with a much more distant, unseen planet. That world would have a mass between that of Mars and Saturn and would sit about 200 times Earth's distance from the sun.

Some of the smaller objects have very elongated orbits that would take them out to this distance. It is unusual for a large planet to orbit so close to other bodies unless it is dynamically tied to something else, so the researchers suggest that the large planet is itself in resonance with a more massive world at about 250 times the Earth-sun distance – just like the one predicted in the previous work.


 WATCH: Spanish astronomers discover two new planets in solar system.




Observing these putative planets will be tricky. The smaller bodies are on very elliptical orbits and were only spotted when they ventured closest to the sun. But the big planets would have roughly circular orbits and would be slow moving and dim, making them tough for current telescopes to see. "It's not at all surprising that they haven't been found yet," says Carlos.

"As there are only a few of these extremely distant objects known, it's hard to say anything definitive about the number or location of any distant planets," says Scott Sheppard at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, one of the discoverers of 2012 VP113. "However, in the near future we should have more objects to work with to help us determine the structure of the outer solar system."

Reference: arxiv.org/abs/1406.0715 

- NewScientist.




FUK-U-SHIMA: Tunnel Vision - TEPCO's Plan To Put The Quake-Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant On Ice Hits A Major Snag!

June 17, 2014 - JAPAN -  The plan to stop contaminated water from the quake-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant leaking into the sea by freezing soil and water is not working as well as Japanese officials had hoped.


No. 1 reactor building at the Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture (Reuters / Koji Sasahara)

The problem is related not to the more-publicized “ice wall” set to be erected around the Fukushima plant, but rather the use of the same approach to freeze water in underground tunnels. Workers started pouring chemical solutions into the tunnels under the No 2 reactor in April, hoping that they would help freeze the contaminated water in them and stop it from leaking into the environment.

But the plan is not working as intended, with tests showing that the water in the tunnels is still above freezing level, NHK reported Tuesday. Plant operator Tepco believes that some objects must be blocking the flow of the coolant and have therefore considered adding more pipes to pour it in.

The tunnels are full of an estimated 11,000 tons of contaminated water, which was used to cool down the reactors after they melted down in the wake of the March 2011 quake and tsunami.

Tepco was hoping to complete the frozen barrier in the tunnels and pump out the radioactive wastewater into storage tanks by end of July, but may have to push back the deadline.

In addition to freezing the tunnel water, the company wants to erect a 1.5-kilometer ice wall around the Fukushima plant to prevent groundwater from getting contaminated and flowing into the sea. Last week Tepco decided that the small-scale test of the ice wall plan was promising and gave a green light to implementing the $314 million project.

At the moment Tepco is trying to limit the release of radiation into the sea by pumping out the groundwater before it reaches the plant. On Sunday it poured 1,563 tons of uncontaminated water into the sea – the fourth and largest discharge since last month, when the pumping started.

The water “bypass operation” once fully implemented is expected to reduce the daily buildup of 400 tons of highly radioactive water at the plant by up to 100 tons. - RT.




ICE AGE NOW: Extreme Weather Anomalies Continue Across The Globe - Snowfall In Russia During High Summer And Surprise Summer Snowfall In Finland?!

June 17, 2014 - RUSSIA & FINLAND - Here are two stories out of Russia and Finland that further illustrates the monumental weather anomalies currently happening across the globe:

Snowfall In Russia During High Summer
Anastasia Pozdeyeva


In mid-June the thermometer dropped below zero.

This morning, the Ust-Tsilemskii area began heavy snowfall accompanied by strong northerly winds. Precipitation occurs with such intensity that sometimes does not have time to melt snow.

In the district the thermometer temperature recorded 1, 2 degrees.

Weather in northern Komi began to deteriorate overnight. Yesterday on the Pechora River rose a strong wind and waves. Republic reported a weather storm warning.


Anastasia Pozdeyeva

Anastasia Pozdeyeva

Anastasia Pozdeyeva

People try not to leave their homes unnecessarily. In addition, residents are worried that the abnormal cold in mid-June can ruin planting vegetable gardens.

According to preliminary data, the warming in this area is expected only to the environment. Weather forecast for the week can be found here .

Recall that the fifth day of June in Vorkuta first June snow fell. - Komikz. [Translated]


Surprise Summer Snowfall In Finland


Snowfall surprised on Monday morning for Muonio people. White flakes floated down in Kerässiepissä. Muonio, in addition snow fell in Sodankylä, Inari and Utsjoki.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute weather forecaster on duty Paavo Korpela says midsummer week throughout the chilly Lapland.


WATCH:  Summer snow in Finland.




- The cold air arrives from the north to the south, which is why in Lapland can be in the water, even rain and snow. The snow is melting away during the day, says Korpela.

The next few days of inclement weather continues, and on Tuesday night can be cold.

Even the weekend, the weather is warming up, but remain at ten degrees on the surface or just below it. - Lapinkansa. [Translated]




INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Massive Gas Transit Pipeline Explosion In Eastern Ukraine - Blast Reach Up To 200 Meters High! [VIDEOS]

June 17, 2014 - UKRAINE - An explosion has struck a pipeline in the central Ukrainian Poltava region. Witnesses say flames from the blast are up to 200 meter high.


Screenshot from youtube.com video

“The explosion occurred at about 14:45 local time in a field,” the local police press-service said in a statement. Due to the “flame and the high temperatures,” it was “impossible to get closer to the epicenter.”

The “Brotherhood” natural gas pipeline (Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod) is about one kilometer away from the nearest settlement. No injuries have been reported from the blast. Fire fighting crews have been deployed to the scene.

The blaze, which according to the Interior Ministry towered 100 meters high, was put out by “between 4 and 5 pm.”


WATCH:  Gas transit pipeline explodes.




Pipeline faucets have been temporary turned off, but transit of Russian gas to Europe is being realized through a reserve pipeline.

According to preliminary investigation, the explosion was caused by pipeline depressurization.

However, Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov was still fast to directly accuse Russia – despite absence of any evidence.

In just an hour after the explosion, the Ministry issued a statement. The title, quoting Avakov, stated: “Sabotage on a gas pipeline in the Poltava region is another attempt by Russia to discredit Ukraine as a partner in the gas sphere.”

The key reason, the Ministry believes, is “a terrorist act,” citing local people who reported “hearing two loud booms before the fire.”

The statement, however, failed to clarify why this is “another attempt,” seeing that no previous acts of sabotage on the part of Russia have ever been documented.




Operating since 1967, the “Brotherhood” is the largest consumer gas pipeline in Europe, clocking in at 4,451 km. It cuts through Ukraine and runs into Slovakia, where it diverges in two directions; with one part supplying gas to the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Switzerland, and the other to Austria, Italy, Hungary and several countries in the Balkans.

Whether the explosion affects gas supplies to Europe will be seen in the coming days, Russian gas giant Gazprom has said.

At the same time, Ukrainian state gas pipeline and depot operator Ukrtransgas insists that the accident will not affect transit of Russian gas to European consumers.

"[The explosion] clearly did not affect the gas flow," a Ukrtransgaz spokesman said.


WATCH:  Gas transit pipeline explodes.

 


The Poltava region, where Ukraine's oil and natural gas industry is concentrated, lies in the center of the country. This territory is under the protection of the Ukrainian army and has not been the scene of fighting between anti-government militias and government forces.

Back in March, the leader of ultranationalist group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory to “deprive our enemy [Russia] of its source of income.” - RT



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Can Anything Stop The Outbreak Of Ebola In West Africa - Seven Die From Outbreak In Liberia?!

June 17, 2014 - WEST AFRICA - The deadly Ebola virus has killed seven people in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, health officials have said.


The virus was first reported in Guinea, before spreading across the region

These are the first deaths reported in the city since the outbreak of the contagious virus in several West African states.

Among the dead are a nurse and four people from the same household, including a baby, officials said.

Guinea has been worst-affected by Ebola, with 208 deaths since the outbreak was first reported in March.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola - one of the world's deadliest viruses.

Liberia's Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said the nurse died on Saturday at the state-run Redemption Hospital in the densely populated township of New Kru Town, west of Monrovia.

"When we knew that the nurse was confirmed [to have] the disease, we isolated her and started to provide protective treatment and supportive treatment and all of that to her. But unfortunately she died," Mr Nyenswah said on local radio.

A woman who came from Sierra Leone had also died in Monrovia of Ebola, he said.

She "infested some people in the household", causing the deaths of the baby and two other people, Mr Nyenswah said.. - BBC



MONUMENTAL WEATHER ANOMALIES: Korea Hit By Tornado As Extreme Weather Persists - First Ever Twister Spotted On The Mainland! [VIDEO]

June 17, 2014 - KOREA - Tornado and Korea are two words you would never normally hear in the same sentence.




But you will now... because a tornado was spotted in Korea earlier this week.

News of this twister, coupled with freak thunderstorms and torrential rain showers in recent days, has people asking if it's all down to climate change.

The worst flooding in the Balkans in over a century... an unusually heavy hailstorm in Sao Paulo, Brazil... and exceptionally heavy snowstorms in the central United States.

The effects of climate change are being seen across the globe through abnormal weather events... and Korea is no exception... as evidenced by the last few days.

A tornado near Ilsan in Gyeonggi-do province this Tuesday... was the first ever spotted on the mainland.

The twister lasted for at least an hour... leaving a trail of destruction in its path... with at least 21 greenhouses destroyed.


WATCH: Korea hit by extreme weather.




Tornadoes aside, other parts of the nation have had their own unique weather experiences this week, which include torrential rain and hail--both of which are unusual this time of year.

Meteorologists say an unstable atmosphere is to blame.

Five-kilometers above the nation, the air is currently at a temperature of minus-15 degrees.

Early summer daytime conditions on the surface are generating rain clouds in the skies... leading to torrential rain and hail.

For the immediate future, weather forecasters think we're out of the woods in terms of the damaging storms.

But climate experts worry that the recent events could be a sign of more worrying changes to come. - Arirang News



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Northeast Nebraska Rip To Pieces By RARE DOUBLE TORNADO - 1 Person Dead, 19 Injured; Homes And Businesses Demolished; "More Than Half Of The Town Is Gone"! [STUNNING PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 17, 2014 - NEBRASKA, UNITED STATES - A powerful storm with tornadoes ripped through northeast Nebraska on Monday, destroying more than half of the tiny town of Pilger, killing a 5-year-old child and injuring at least 19 people, hospital and emergency officials said.


Photo from Twitter/@StormCoker

MAJOR damage here in Pilger, Nebraska need emergency personnel NOW!!
@reedtimmerTVN

Tornado crossing 275 east of Pilger, Nebraska earlier.
@StealthChaser

AP Photo.

AP Photo.



The National Weather Service said dual twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. Emergency crews and residents spent the evening sorting through demolished homes and businesses in the community of about 350, roughly 100 miles northwest of Omaha.

"More than half of the town is gone - absolutely gone," Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt said. "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."

Victims were taken to three regional hospitals, and at least one had died from unspecified injuries, hospital officials said.


WATCH: Massive tornado hits Nebraska.






Jodi Richey, a spokeswoman for Faith Regional Health Services in nearby Norfolk, said one person died and 16 others were being treated at the hospital. Hospital officials initially described those patients as being in critical condition, but said later that some had been released after treatment.

The Stanton County Sheriff's Office confirmed late Monday that the person killed was a 5-year-old child. It didn't specify the child's gender.

One was transferred to a trauma center in Omaha, while others required surgery, said Dr. Doug Dilly, who was in the emergency room when patients arrived.

Providence Medical Center in nearby Wayne treated three tornado patients, including two who had lacerations, said hospital spokeswoman Sandy Bartling. Two were released Monday evening, and the third patient was in stable condition, she said.


Pilger, NE Before & After from @Bmendlik & @Google Streetview
@ERICSORENSEN

Pilger, NE  @Bmendlik

Pilger, NE  @Bmendlik

AP Photo.

AP Photo.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger estimated that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed in the storm. The local school is likely beyond repair, he said.

"It's total devastation," Unger said.

Authorities said the first tornado touched down around 3:45 p.m. and downed several power lines before it leveled a farmhouse. Four people were trapped inside.

While local crews removed them from the debris, a second tornado was spotted southwest of Pilger, according to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office. Shortly afterward, the town suffered a "direct hit" that leveled several buildings, including the Fire Department building, the sheriff's office said. Several people near Main Street in Pilger suffered critical injuries, including the child who later died.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup. Heineman and officials with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive Tuesday morning.

Pilger was evacuated for the night, and the Nebraska State Patrol closed all roads into town. Most residents made their own arrangements, but some were taken to a shelter at Wisner-Pilger Jr.-Sr. High School in nearby Wisner.

About a dozen residents had arrived at the makeshift shelter by 9:30 p.m., and school officials were expecting more to come later, said Wisner-Pilger Schools Superintendent Chad Boyer. The shelter will remain open to residents for as long as needed to offer food, water, showers and cots, he said.

"I just have to use one word - devastation," Boyer said by phone from inside the school. "It's a tremendous loss all around the town. Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with the community."

He said Wisner-Pilger Middle School, located in Pilger, was heavily damaged by the tornado, but he hadn't seen it up close.


AP Photo.

AP Photo.

AP Photo.

AP Photo.

AP Photo.

AP Photo.


Tornadoes also caused damage in Cuming and Wayne counties, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said in a news release.

"We are still in a response mode in these communities," said Earl Imler, NEMA's operations officer. "We are collecting damage reports from local officials on the ground."

Officials won't know the intensity of the storms until late Tuesday at the earliest, after crews have examined the area, said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.

Mayes said the dual tornadoes were unusual because both appeared to have roughly the same strength. In most cases, she said, one tornado tends to be larger and more powerful than the other, and the bigger cyclone grows stronger as the smaller one weakens.

"It's less common for two tornadoes to track together for so long, especially with that same intensity," she said. "By no means is it unprecedented. But we don't see it often."

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service also tracked a tornado near the town of Burwell, in central Nebraska. Mayes said they had not received reports of damage. - AP