One of the deadly EF-4 tornadoes that pummeled Pilger, Neb., last month was captured in stunning surveillance video from a store that was flattened by the twister — giving viewers a brief, chilling glimpse of what it was like during the storm.
The footage, taken by several security cameras that were rolling at the Farmers Co-op Store, shows the shelves rattling before wind gusts estimated at 166 to 200 mph sent debris flying. From an exterior camera, sparks from power lines can be seen as the cords are dragged across the street; from an interior camera, a lightning bolt is seen hitting building.
Employees of the farm store took cover in a concrete vault. They emerged three minutes later to survey the vast destruction left in the wake of the June 16 tornado.
"We were all getting sweaty and jittery just rewatching it," Aaron Becker, president of the Farmers Co-op and one of the survivors, told Omaha's KETV.
Two people, including a 5-year-old girl, were killed in the tornadoes, officials said, and 19 others were injured. Up to 75 percent of the buildings in the farming town of 350 people were heavily damaged or destroyed.
"This is by far the worst thing I've ever seen as governor," Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said after flying over Pilger a day later.