Wisconsin Tornado Watches and Warnings

March 10, 2023

tornadoes in Wisconsin

Wisconsin isn’t a tornado-heavy state, but we still experience tornadoes every year. It’s important to know what to do and where to go when severe weather threatens your area.

Tornadoes can be devastating, as they can uproot trees, damage buildings and cut power lines. Learn more about tornadoes in Wisconsin by reading this article and following our social media channels for updates.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches

Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when a significant weather event is possible or is imminent. These watches typically indicate the possibility of hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall.

A severe thunderstorm watch is a signal to be on the lookout for storms and stay tuned to local radio or television for updates.

The most important part of a watch is that it gives you an early heads-up on the potentially hazardous weather that is brewing. It also serves as a reminder to verify that your methods of receiving severe weather warnings are functioning.

Tornadoes are the most destructive of all local weather events and can be deadly. They can strike anywhere in Wisconsin at any time of the year and are most likely to occur during a thunderstorm.

Almost all major thunderstorm events are preceded by a watch and a warning. However, no single method of alerting is perfect, so a multi-pronged approach can be the best way to ensure you receive information in an emergency.

Tornado Watches

A tornado watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes. These watches are usually issued hours in advance by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center and last for several hours or longer.

Tornadoes are a serious threat to lives, property, and communities. They often occur without warning and can be very devastating to a community.

The best way to prepare for a tornado is to plan where you will go and what you will do in the event of a storm. The Dane County Notification System offers a variety of options to receive severe weather alerts so you can be informed of any potential threats.

If a tornado warning is issued, get to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or a storm shelter. Stay away from trees, cars, and other objects that can be blown onto you. Crouch down face-down and protect your head with your arms.

Tornado Intensity Ratings

Intensity ratings are a way to quantify the damage that tornadoes cause. The National Weather Service uses the Enhanced Fujita Scale to rate tornado intensity.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale is a damage-based scale that uses wind speed and physical damage to estimate the strength of a tornado. It was developed by University of Chicago meteorologist Ted Fujita in 1971 and is now the standard for evaluating tornadoes.

Tornados are rated from 0 to 5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, depending on how severe their damage is. An EF3 tornado is the lowest-rated tornado on this scale, while an EF5 tornado is the highest-rated tornado.

A total of six tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The strongest was rated an EF2 near Wyeville, with peak winds of 115 mph. Others were rated E-F-1 in La Farge, Mauston, Seymour and West Bloomfield.

Tornado Damage

Tornadoes struck Southern Wisconsin on Wednesday, causing significant damage and affecting thousands of people. According to a national outage tracker, nearly 27 thousand households are without power in the state.

Silver Cliff volunteer fire chief Alan Walesh said one of the tornadoes that hit the area clobbered his firehouse, leaving him and his staff with a big clean up job ahead. He says the building is pretty much a total loss and the three fire trucks that were in the firehouse are also damaged.

The storms also toppled trees, power lines and utility poles, resulting in downed wires in many areas of the state. Utilities are working to restore power as quickly as possible.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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