A pair of tornadoes touched down within a mile of each other in northeast Nebraska today. While multiple tornadoes spawning from a single storm are common, having an independent pair of strong twisters touch down this close together is rare and downright devastating.

A pair of tornadoes touched down within a mile of each other in northeast Nebraska. Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Anderson


Storm Chasing Video has footage of the event:

The opening shot is of both tornadoes near Wakefield, before cutting to shots of the tornadoes impacting a farm and the resulting damage. It cuts to a broad view of the two tornadoes starting to merge at the 1:20 mark.

Pilger was severely damaged by the storms, with many buildings outright flattened. A tornado warning remains in effect for the region through Tuesday morning.

Multiple, indpendent strong tornadoes are highly uncommon. In 1965, a pair of tornadoes touched down together in Indiana on Palm Sunday [left, credit: NOAA], and in 1980, so many tornadoes touched down in one night from a single massive storm system in Nebraska that it became the real-life inspiration for a disaster movie. This pair of twisters are unusual for being high-magnitude, independent events, and are scientifically puzzling for both rotating the same direction.


It's more common to have pairs of related tornadoes. For example, in 2011 night tornado in Iowa spun apart into twins. Even more common is satellite tornadoes, where a small funnel rotates around the larger, primary tornado. Dennis Mersereau on The Vane has more on the mechanics, along with more photographs, as does Andrew Freeman on Mashable.


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