2012 Wisconsin Tornado Summary

It's been an interesting year so far in Wisconsin for tornadoes - or for the lack of them.  However, we doubt anyone is complaining about the lack of tornadoes.

Through June 30th, only one tornado was documented in Wisconsin - an EF0 in Marathon County on May 24th.  It had a path length of almost 6 miles in the area between Wausau and Marathon City.  There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

With only the one tornado reported through the end of June, 2012 has now tied 1961 for the fewest number of tornadoes in Wisconsin for the first six months of a year.

Below is a listing of calendar years with tornado totals of 5 or less for the first 6 months of a year in Wisconsin, and the subsequent yearly total of tornadoes documented for those years. The years prior to 1956 were not considered since tornado documentation wasn't complete.

Year

Jan-June    Total

Yearly Total

2012

1

?

2009

5

16

1997

2

14

1996

5

21

1995

2

7

1990

4

9

1987

3

16

1986

3

14

1983

4

31

1977

5

15

1975

3

8

1972

4

23

1963

2

11

1961

1

9

1956

4

7

Currently, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year, based on the climate normal period of 1981-2010.  This number was reached in only two of the years listed in the table above: 1983 and 1972.  Overall, the numbers suggest that the total number of tornadoes for 2012 will be below the average of 23, but nothing is guaranteed. 

 Wisconsin Tornado Statistics

Yearly Average = 23

Average 1981-2010 (Official)                
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
0.1 0.0 0.2 1.2 3.4 7.5 5.6 3.1 1.8 0.3 0.1 0.0 23.1

Most in one year = 62 in 2005

Least in one year = 7 in 1995 and 1956.  There were years with "zero" tornadoes back in the mid-1800s through the 1940s but they are not considered due to incomplete documentation, lack of reports from individuals who witnessed the tornadoes, lack of awareness and training....as well as a lack of organized severe weather spotters.

Most in one month = 30 in June 2005

Most on one calendar day = 27 on August 18, 2005

Most consecutive days with tornadoes = 5, from July 4-8, 1994

Only month with no documented tornadoes = February

Longest tracked tornado = 170 miles, April 5, 1929, from southwest of River Falls (Pierce Co.) to Van Buskirk (Iron Co.).

Deadliest tornado = "New Richmond Tornado" on Jun 12, 1899 (St. Croix Co.).  117 deaths and 125 injured

Costliest tornado = "F5 Barneveld Tornado" on June 8, 1984, $88.5 Million in 2012 dollars adjusted for inflation. $40 Million in 1984 dollars.  The F5 Oakfield tornado had a $40.4 Million damage estimate in 1996 dollars which translates to $59.2 Million in 2012 dollars. There were three other costly tornadoes for which decent estimates are not available:  The New Richmond tornado, the September 9, 1884 St. Croix-Barron-Polk County tornado and the June 4, 1958 St. Croix-Dunn tornado.

Most-recent violent tornado = "F5 Oakfield Tornado" on July 18, 1996, in Fond du Lac County.

"Average Wisconsin tornado" = lasts about 7 minutes in duration, path length of 3.5 to 4 miles, maximum width about 125 yards, EF1 rating (winds 86 to 110 mph)



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