Picking up Pilger

It’s hard to wrap our head around the destruction a tornado can cause.

There’s not much left of Pilger, Nebraska — “The Little Town Too Tough to Die” — where the twin tornadoes struck yesterday.

This picture, for example, depicts what’s left.

Thanks to Google’s street view, we can compare the spot to what it looked like before — apparently, a town that had seen its better days and was losing its fight with time.


Unfortunately, included in that block is the town’s volunteer fire department.


The town’s bank…





… became this:

Ruth Labenz is assisted to safety by a Stanton County Sherriff's officer after her home was destroyed in the town of Pilger, Neb. Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

We’ve seen this heartbreaking scene so many times before. An elderly woman, clutching what’s left — usually pictures. Based on other storms and scenes like this, it’s not out of the question that pictures and papers from Pilger ended up somewhere in Minnesota.