Pilger Will Have to Use Safe Rooms in Rebuilding

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Residents of a northeast Nebraska town heavily damaged by tornadoes last month will have to rely on safe rooms for storm shelters when rebuilding.

Pilger sits on a flood plain near the Elkhorn River, so rules adopted in 2004 will keep residents from building basements.

The destruction caused by the June 16 tornadoes destroyed 60 homes and damaged 60 others.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that building an 8-foot-by-8-foot safe room in a new home costs roughly $7,000 to $9,000 although construction costs vary across the country.

A larger 14-foot-by-14-foot safe room costs about $12,000 to $15,000.

State and local officials say the lowest level of any rebuilt homes in Pilger will have to be 1-foot above the level expected in a likely flood.