Updated: Authorities Release Names of Two Killed in Northeast Nebraska Tornado


Several communities in northeast Nebraska were hit with strong winds, tornadoes and hail Monday evening, leaving severe damage to the towns of Pilger, Wisner, Stanton and many others.

Two deaths are being blamed on tornadoes that destroyed the town of Pilger.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger says 74-year-old David Herout, of Clarkson, died after being ejected from his vehicle on a county road a few miles east of Pilger. Unger says the accident is considered storm-related because it occurred about the same time the storm hit the community.

Additionally, 5-year-old Calista Dixon, of Pilger, died from injuries suffered in the storm. The child was pronounced dead at a Norfolk hospital.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has activated its emergency operations center. The Nebraska State Patrol and American Red Cross are working with NEMA staff at the operations center and in the field.

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

The Nebraska Department of Roads says Highway 275 in Stanton County is open, but Highway 15 from Highway 275 to Highway 32 remains closed and may not open until Wednesday.

A team of six Nebraska Emergency Management Agency staff members will be on scene Tuesday. Gov. Dave Heineman will also be traveling to the Pilger area to survey storm damage.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Wisner-Pilger High School, 801 18th Street. Individuals hoping to help may send monetary donations to the Red Cross at or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. They ask that you not send any other items at this time.

Volunteers are asked to stay away from Pilger at this time. However, volunteers are being allowed into the town of Wakefield at 11 a.m. Volunteers are asked to check in at the fire hall.