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Thursday’s Wisconsin tornado activity set very rare records

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Thursday, several severe thunderstorms took place across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. This included two tornadoes being confirmed with one near Henry, Illinois, and Evansville, Wisconsin.

The activity in Wisconsin during Thursday evening and night was extremely rare for this time of the year and ended up setting some records. So far, one longer tracked tornado has been confirmed from near Evansville to near Fort Atkinson, WI. Rock and Jefferson counties had the EF2 damage associated with the tornado. This tornado is currently rated a high-end EF2 with max winds up to at least 125 mph, and this is preliminary.

This event marked the first time a Tornado Warning was issued in the month of February for Wisconsin. What’s even more substantial is that Wisconsin had never had a single recorded tornado in this month until last night. It become the first significant tornado (EF2 or higher) to happen in the state since Jun. 15, 2022.

Rock county had not seen a tornado of EF2 strength or greater since Jun. 25, 1998. The National Weather Service’s jurisdiction area for Milwaukee last had an EF2+ tornado on Aug. 28, 2018.

Tornadoes are simply not common in the Midwest region in the winter months. Here in Indiana, we only average about one tornado every February. It is worth mentioning that we had two tornadoes occur on Feb. 27 last year in northern Hancock county.

This is a clear reminder that no matter what time of the year it is, the right conditions can gather together and cause severe weather issues.