Intersecting Tornado Paths in Wisconsin?

It was reported the city of Moore, OK, has been visited by several tornadoes over the years:

Although Wisconsin doesn't experience as many tornadoes as Oklahoma does (average of 23 versus 57 for Oklahoma), there have been many cases in Wisconsin in which tornadoes did cross paths.  In fact, it is more common than you think. 

The most recent case was just east of Sturtevant, Racine County, in which two tornadoes in 2010 crossed the same location just southeast of where State Highway 11 and North Branch Pike River intersect.  This is shown in the map below.  Click on image for a larger version.

Racine County Tor Paths

Looking across all of Wisconsin, we can easily identify many locations where at least 2 tornadoes crossed the same point - some in cites and others in rural areas.  The maps below were produced by Doug Norgord of Geographic Techniques, Inc.  Doug is a former Wisconsin State Climatologist.  The map on the left depicts all tornadoes (EF0 through EF5) from 1950 through 2011.  The map on the right shows all tornadoes for the years 1950 through 2010, but plotted on a background with county borders.  Click on image for a larger version.

1950-2010 WI Tor Plot  WI Tor Plot 2 1950-2010

In 2010, Jason Palleria, a Student Volunteer, worked on a GIS project to identify locations in Wisconsin where tornado paths intersected.  He restricted his mapping to only EF2 through EF5 tornadoes for 1950 through 2002 in order to reduce map clutter.  Below on the far left is his statewide map. In the middle is a map for the Milwaukee/Sullivan County Warning Area.  On the far right is a zoomed-in view of southeastern Wisconsin.  Click on images for a larger version.

Tor Intersection WI  Tor Intersections MKX CWA  Tor Intersections SE WI

The tornado path intersection in the Pewaukee area involved 3 different tornadoes:

  • EF2 - April 2, 1977 - west to east for 12 miles, 100 yards wide, no deaths, 2 injuries
  • EF3 - June 5, 1977 - northwest to southeast for 73 miles, 400 yards wide, no deaths, 8 injuries
  • EF4 - April 27, 1984 - southwest to northeast for 6.5 miles, 100 yards wide, 1 death, 14 injuries

Yearly tornado plots for Wisconsin back to 2001 can be seen at this link:  Use the drop-down menu in the upper left side of the web page in the tornado section.

Additional tornado and severe weather information can be found on the Storm Prediction Center's  WCM Web Page

Kapela, WFO Milwaukee/Sullivan


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