Pilger's 350 residents evacuated their homes after the powerful twisters slammed the area Monday afternoon. Nebraska State Patrol closed all roads into town.
"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."
Emergency crews and residents spent the evening sifting through demolished homes and businesses in the town about 80 miles northwest of Omaha. Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger estimated that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed and the school is likely beyond repair.
"It's total devastation," Unger said.