At least one person has died after tornadoes struck several farming communities in northeastern Nebraska in the United States.

Another 16 people were injured in the village of Pilger, which was obliterated by a direct hit, officials said.

The village of roughly 350 residents appeared to bear the brunt of the storms and the heaviest concentration of casualties after one twister struck in late afternoon, local authorities said.

"Pilger is gone," said Sanford Goshorn, director of emergency management for Stanton County.

"The tornado cut right through the centre of town."

The entire community, located about 160km northwest of Omaha, was ordered to be evacuated.

The tornadoes packed cyclonic winds of up to 265km/h, said forecaster Rich Thompson, of the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Mr Thompson said the Storm Prediction Center tracked at least four different twisters in northeastern Nebraska.

There were one or two sightings of a pair of tornadoes touching down simultaneously.

"Two powerful tornadoes on the ground at the same time is quite rare," said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Omaha.

A storm chaser video on the Weather Channel showed two large tornadoes in the same video frame tearing across farmland near Stanton.

Additional tornadoes or funnel clouds were detected in central Nebraska, behind the first wave of storms that appeared to dissipate as it moved eastward, weather officials said.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency also received reports of injuries and damage throughout nearby counties of Stanton, Cuming and Wayne.