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NWS confirms 8 tornadoes in Wisconsin June 15

Survey teams have identified at least eight tornadoes in the state, including two EF-2 tornadoes and six rated EF-1.
A tornado that occurred near Wyeville, Wis. on June 15, 2022 as seen from Highway 21 and County...
A tornado that occurred near Wyeville, Wis. on June 15, 2022 as seen from Highway 21 and County Highway PP. (Video by Sara Wiza).(Viewer Submission: Sara Wiza)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:38 AM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - The National Weather Service offices in Wisconsin have confirmed eight tornadoes from a system of storms that passed through the state on Wednesday, June 15, bringing the statewide total to 15 so far in 2022.

The outbreak of severe weather brought the state its first tornadoes since an EF0-rated tornado occurred near Beloit in Rock County on May 25 and a brief EF0 tornado near Sparta on May 19, according to the National Weather Service.

Three tornadoes occurred in the coverage area for the National Weather Service office in La Crosse in west-central Wisconsin. The first was a tornado that stayed on the ground for 20.9 miles and passed near Tomah, Oakdale, and Wyeville before ending in the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. The EF2-rated tornado was on the ground for 36 minutes, from 3:58 until 4:34 p.m., and had a maximum width of 200 yards and estimated peak winds of 115mph. The NWS said some structures were damaged near Wyeville, and tree damage was found along the entire nearly 21-mile track of the tornado, which traveled northeast from south of Tomah all the way to the wildlife refuge.

The second tornado to happen lasted seven minutes and was on the ground from 4:07 until 4:14 p.m. near La Farge in Vernon County. The EF1-rated tornado had estimated peak winds of 100mph and traveled 6.2 miles with a maximum width of 200 yards. This tornado started east of La Farge and caused tree and structure damage in a mostly rural part of the county. A third EF1-rated tornado caused damage in the southern part of Mauston before traveling 8.4 miles northeast in Juneau County and ending near the Wisconsin River. This tornado was on the ground for nine minutes, from 4:43 until 4:52 p.m., and had estimated peak winds of 90mph and a maximum width of 150 yards.

The National Weather Service office in Green Bay initially confirmed three tornadoes from Wednesday’s storm system, with two of them earning an EF1 rating. One of them occurred in Seymour at about 6:17 p.m., according to radar estimates. The second EF1-rated tornado occurred in West Bloomfield, with preliminary estimated peak winds of 90mph. This tornado was estimated to have touched down at 5:43 p.m., according to radar. A third tornado, which was rated EF-2 and packed winds up to 113mph, was confirmed in the Town of Silver Cliff, causing an estimated $3 to $5 million in damage.

On June 17, NWS crews confirmed a fourth tornado in the Green Bay service area, near the town of Navarino in Shawano County. This EF-1 tornado damaged trees, utility poles and structures. On Saturday afternoon, the NWS confirmed another EF1 tornado in Shawano County, near Bowler, which had estimated maximum winds of 104mph. All told, the Green Bay office of the NWS confirmed five tornadoes in its service area on June 15.

The storm system brought high winds, lightning and heavy downpours along with the tornadoes, knocking out power for thousands of customers with outages lasting two days in some areas of the state. Damage from non-tornadic storms was caused primarily by strong wind gusts, toppling power lines, trees, and damaging homes and businesses from southwestern Wisconsin all the way up through central Wisconsin to northeastern Wisconsin near the border with the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Emergency management teams all across Wisconsin were called into service to help with clearing trees from roadways and cleaning up debris left by the several tornadoes and strong storms that affected most of the state Wednesday. National Weather Service survey teams are still looking for evidence of potential additional tornadoes as part of the storm system.

Despite several tornadoes and damage to structures all across the state, no injuries or deaths were reported from any of the storms, according to the National Weather Service. No one has been injured or killed by a tornado this year in Wisconsin. At this time last year, no tornadoes had occurred in the state, with the first confirmed tornadoes occurring on June 24, 2021. Last year saw 41 confirmed tornadoes between June and December, including the historic outbreak on December 15 of 10 tornadoes in west-central Wisconsin.

An assessment team confirmed an EF-1 tornado landed in Seymour in Outagamie County

ReadyWisconsin offers safety tips on what to do if a tornado warning has been issued for your area:

  • If you are in a structure, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
  • If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter.
  • If you are outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

If a watch is issued or if there’s a threat of tornadoes, ReadyWisconsin says you can follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms
  • Look for the following danger signs: Dark, often greenish sky, Large hail, A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating), Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers additional safety information, such as what to do in the event of a power outage and how to develop emergency plans for your household.

More safety advice on different weather scenarios is also available from the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes peak from 3 until 9 p.m. from May through August in Wisconsin, with June being the busiest month for tornadoes. The state averages 23 tornadoes per year, and had a record 62 tornadoes in 2005. The average Wisconsin tornado lasts for seven to eight minutes and has a path length of about four to five miles, with an average width of 120 yards, the length of a football field.

Straight-line winds from thunderstorms can reach hurricane-force winds of 100 to 150mph as well, in addition to severe weather threats such as lightning, hail and flooding from excessive rain. Excessive heat is historically the number-one weather-related cause of death, according to the National Weather Service.

Mauston Mayor Dennis Nielsen issued a disaster declaration late Wednesday night following a day of storms that left a slew of damage in its wake.

The NWS said that so far in 2022, there have been 15 confirmed tornadoes in Wisconsin. Four of them happened on May 9, including two in Dunn County, one in Polk County and one in Pepin County. One of the Dunn County tornadoes damaged a golf course and was rated an EF1. On May 25, an EF0 tornado was confirmed near Beloit in southern Wisconsin, and on May 19, an EF0 tornado was confirmed near Sparta in western Wisconsin. On March 5, a tornado was confirmed in Dane County southeast of Madison.

2022 Wisconsin Tornadoes

Several tornadoes touched down in west central Wisconsin Wednesday.
Several tornadoes touched down in west central Wisconsin Wednesday.
Shortly after 4pm on Wednesday June 15th, a tornado was reported east of Tomah, Wisconsin.
Shortly after 4pm on Wednesday June 15th, a tornado was reported east of Tomah, Wisconsin.(Monroe Co. Sheriff's Office)
The tornado took down multiple trees, powerlines, and barns.
The tornado took down multiple trees, powerlines, and barns.(Monroe Co. Sheriff's Office)
The tornado took down multiple trees, powerlines, and barns.
The tornado took down multiple trees, powerlines, and barns.(Monroe Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
RAW VIDEO: Confirmed tornado in Southwestern Wisconsin, June 15 2022
RAW VIDEO: Confirmed tornado in Southwestern Wisconsin, June 15 2022

correction: This article was updated on June 19, 2022 to reflect two additional confirmed tornadoes by the National Weather Service office in Green Bay. When the article was originally published June 17, six tornadoes had been confirmed.

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