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Three tornadoes were confirmed from the July 27th round of severe weather. Tornadoes are now rated based on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, or EF-Scale. Find out more about the EF-Scale by clicking here. Below is a listing of the estimated peak wind speeds that correspond to each EF-Scale category:

  • EF-0:  65-85 mph
  • EF-1:  86-110 mph
  • EF-2:  111-135 mph
  • EF-3:  136-165 mph
  • EF-4:  166-200 mph
  • EF-5:  Over 200 mph

Morse Tornado

 Morse Tornado
BEGIN  621 PM, 0.5 N Morse
 END 624 PM, 1.0 ENE Morse
 RATING EF-2
 PATH LENGTH 0.93 miles
 MAX WIDTH 650 yards
Limited road options, and the surrounding Chequamegon National Forest initially made the damage assessment for this tornado difficult. Significant tree damage was evident from Dry Lake Road, but the entire tornado path was unable to be viewed from the ground. Aerial photographs from the Wisconsin DNR revealed some substantial swaths where about 90-100% of the trees were uprooted or snapped. The damage was reminiscent of the EF-2 tornado that struck the area near the St. Croix River in Pine and Burnett Counties on June 17, 2010.

Here are some radar images from around the time that the tornado impacted the Morse area:



0.5 Reflectivity 0.5 SR Velocity

The green velocity data indicates winds that are flowing towards the radar (in this case located off the image to the northwest), and the red velocity data indicates winds that are flowing away from the radar.

Morse, WI area. Pictures from NWS Duluth Survey Team.

Eastern Ashland County Tornado

 Eastern Ashland County Tornado
BEGIN  712 PM, 7.2 E Peeksville
 END 714 PM, 9.1 E Peeksville
 RATING EF-0
 PATH LENGTH 1.92 miles
 MAX WIDTH 600 yards
Some tree damage was evident from Roddis Line Road north of Highway F. The tree damage was relatively minor in this area, but exhibited characteristics of tornadic damage. Therefore, this tornado was classified as an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Here are some radar images from around the time that the tornado impacted eastern Ashland County:

0.5 Reflectivity 0.5 SR Velocity

The tight couplet of red colors against green colors in the right-hand image suggests very strong rotation. In these images, the radar beam is intersecting the storm about 10,000 feet above ground level. The "gate-to-gate shear" referenced on the storm relative velocity figure is referring to the maximum difference between a "gate", or pixel, of green velocity data, from a red gate immediately adjacent to itself. In this case, the maximum difference is 130 knots, or 150 mph. Remember, this is what the radar is measuring 10,000 feet above the ground - not necessarily what is happening at the surface. The green velocity data indicates winds that are flowing towards the radar (in this case located off the image to the northwest), and the red velocity data indicates winds that are flowing away from the radar.

Turtle Flambeau Flowage Tornado

 Turtle Flambeau Flowage Tornado
BEGIN 720 PM,  5.9 NW Springstead
 END 726 PM,  3.5 N Springstead
 RATING  EF-1
 PATH LENGTH 4.79 miles
 MAX WIDTH 3/8 mile or 660 yards
 INJURIES 3
This tornado likely began somewhere over the western parts of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage - on the southern tip of Big Island. Aerial photographs taken by the Wisconsin DNR showed evidence of tornado damage on smaller islands over the western part of the flowage between the Turtle Dam and Springstead Landing. These islands had large sections of trees completely destroyed - either snapped or uprooted, and the aerial photographs revealed trees laying across one another in a cross-hatched pattern, in a few cases at 90 degree incidence angles. 

Substantial tree damage began occurring near Springstead Landing and east into a small neighborhood near the intersection of Flowage Rd. and Franks Ln. A stand of large trees between Flowage Landing Rd. and Simmons Rd. was completely demolished with similar evidence of tornadic winds. All of the trees were snapped or uprooted. Standing on the Springstead Landing, you can now see ridges on the opposite side of the lake, which according to area residents was previously impossible due to the density of the trees.

Tornado damage path in red contour on map

Impacts to cabins in the area started on the western edge of Simmons Rd. and then continued into the neighborhood near the northern tip of Flowage Rd. Some structures in this area were damaged by falling trees. The tree damage in this neighborhood was still rather significant, with large trees up to 2 feet in diameter uprooted or snapped. The tornado then continued east where uprooted and snapped trees were noted along the edge of the shoreline near campsites D-31, C-2, and D-35 before damage became much more sporadic near the canoe portage. It was at this point where the damage path narrowed and the tornado likely ended.

It's important to note that this tornado path was embedded in a swath of rather substantial non-tornadic wind damage caused merely by intense thunderstorm wind gusts. The wind damage swath was about 1-3 miles wide and stretched across the Flowage such that most of the campsites received at least some sort of tree damage.

Pictures from NWS Duluth Survey Team around the Flowage - in areas impacted by the tornado ONLY

Here are some radar images from around the time that the tornado impacted the Turtle Flambeau Flowage:

0.5 Reflectivity 0.5 SR Velocity

The tight couplet of red colors against green colors in the right-hand image suggests very strong rotation. In these images, the radar beam is intersecting the storm about 11,500 feet above ground level.


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