Record WI Tornado Outbreak Anniversary

The severe weather season of 2011 will certainly be remembered in North Central Wisconsin.  April 10th and May 22nd ended up featuring a number of twisters locally, while April 10th also included the devastating tornado in Joplin, MO along with April 26th-28th being the span of the largest severe weather outbreak of the season.  One fortunate aspect to our wild weather this spring and summer season is that we have not approached the record for most tornadoes in a single day.  However the six year anniversary of the most ever witnessed in Wisconsin in 24 hours came and went on August 18th.  Here are some of the stats...

This onslaught of twisters spared the northern half of the state, while our viewing area received a glancing blow. Back in 2005, the Fujita Scale was still being used (F0-F5) for measuring the wind speed and damage produced by tornadoes. With that in mind, a F0 tornado hit in SE Waupaca Co., a F0-F1 touched down in SW Waushara Co and two separate F1 twisters impacted Juneau and Adams Counties.  You'll probably also remember that the summer of 2005 featured nearly a week of severe storms in June in North Central Wisconsin and that combined with all the additional twisters at other times across the state that year lead to a record 62 confirmed tornadoes.  Nevertheless, here's a breakdown of where the tornadoes did touch down, along with their intensity.  Just below that is the radar loop from 8/18/05 starting at 1:41pm and running through into the early evening hours.

As mentioned above, the strongest and worst tornado of that day hit Stoughton around 6:15pm. This F3 tornado tracked for nearly 20 miles across Dane & Jefferson Counties, damaging about 200 homes, killing 1 person, injuring 23 and taking debris that was picked up in Stoughton & tossing it back to the ground over 50 miles to the east in Waukesha and Milwaukee.  The fury of Mother Nature in the Badger State was overshadowed just 11 days later when Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Central Gulf Coast. Indeed, this was also a record breaking year for number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.  So many in fact that every name on the list was used and we wrapped up the year with storms named after greek letters.  That extraordinary hurricane season is another blog in and of itself.

One other note following in the wake of these twisters is that although Federal Disaster Assistance was requested by Wisconsin, FEMA denied proclaiming southern Wisconsin a Federal Disaster Area. Estimated damage from the storms amounted to over $42 million.

For more on the record tornadoes of August 18, 2005, go to the NWS Milwaukee and this article on Wikipedia.

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