National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Wisconsin Tornadoes

There have been 1537 documented tornadoes in Wisconsin since 1844, causing 511 directly related deaths and at least 3056 directly related injuries. 

Data prior to 1950 is incomplete because in many cases, only large tornadoes were reported and many rural tornadoes went unreported.  

Wisconsin Tornado Occurrence by Month

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Total

1844-2014

3

0

18

117

239

449

333

206

126

31

9

6

1537

Only 2014

0

0

0

0

0

18

2

2

0

0

0

0

22


30 Year Normal (1981-2010) is 23 tornadoes per year in Wisconsin.  

  • Year with greatest number of tornadoes - 2005 (62)

  • Year with least number of tornadoes - 1952 (1)

Recent Yearly Wisconsin Tornado Totals

1980 - 43

1981 - 21

1982 - 16

1983 - 31

1984 - 34

1985 - 16

1986 - 14

1987 - 16

1988 - 35

1989 - 17

1990 - 9

1991 - 10

1992 - 26

1993 - 37

1994 - 35

1995 - 7

1996 - 21

1997 - 14

1998 - 11 

1999 - 11

2000 - 18 

2001 - 12 

2002 -  26

2003 - 14

2004 - 36

2005 - 62

2006 - 13

2007 - 18

2008 - 38

2009 - 16

2010 - 46

2011 - 38

2012 - 4

2013 - 16

2014 - 22

2015 -

2016 -

2017 -

2018 -

2019 -

 

The Average Wisconsin Tornado

From 1950 through January 2008

From 1982 through January 2008

Duration - 9.8 minutes

Duration - 7.1 minutes

Path Length - 5.5 miles

Path Length - 3.7 miles

Maximum Width - 121 yards

Width - 118 yards

Intensity - 1.1 on EF Scale

 

 

Wisconsin's Worst Tornado occurred on June 12, 1899 in New Richmond in St. Croix County.  This tornado killed 117 and injured 125, and destroyed over 300 buildings.

Other Costly Wisconsin Tornadoes include:

  • July 18, 1996 - Oakfield (Fond du Lac County): injured 12 with damage at 40.4 million in 1996 dollars.  Tornado rated F5 east of Oakfield

  • June 8, 1984 - Barneveld (IowaCounty): killed 9 and injured 200 with damage at 40 million in 1984 dollars. Rated F5.

Other Statistics:

  • On average the number of days per year with thunderstorms in Wisconsin ranges from around 30 along the Lake Michigan shore to around 40 over the southwest third of the state. 

  • Southwest Wisconsin near the Mississippi River averages about 1 day per year with a tornado.  This average decreases to 0.7 days per year for the Madison area, 0.6 days per year for the Milwaukee area, 0.4 days per year for the Green Bay area, and 0.2 days per year for northern Wisconsin.

  • National Weather Service offices servicing Wisconsin issue on average 1 to 2 Tornado Warnings and 5 to 10 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings per county per year in the southern counties.  The averages are less for the northern counties.

  • The National Weather Service in Wisconsin issues on average about 29 Severe Thunderstorm Watches per year that cover at least a part of Wisconsin.  About 11 Tornado Watches are issued per year that cover at least a part of Wisconsin.


 

U.S. Tornado Statistics for the period 1982-2012

  • 1132 tornadoes per year

  • 73 deaths per year

  • 22 killer tornadoes per year
     

Yearly Breakdown for U.S. for 1982-2014

Year

Tornadoes

Deaths

Killer Tornadoes

1982

1047

64

31

1983

812

34

26

1984

907

122

33

1985

684

94

20

1986

713

15

11

1987

656

59

14

1988

698

32

19

1989

856

50

13

1990

1133

53

17

1991

1127

39

15

1992

1297

39

16

1993

1173

33

16

1994

1085

68

23

1995

1234

29

14

1996

1173

25

13

1997

1148

67

22

1998

1417

130

33

1999

1300

95

29

2000

1071

40

14

2001

1216

40

23

2002

941

55

28

2003

1376

54

23

2004

1817     (record)

36

20

2005

1264

38

13

2006

1103

67

25

2007

1098

81

26

2008

1692

126

37

2009

1156

21

9

2010

1282

45

21

2011

1691

553

59

2012

939

70

22

2013

908

55

14

2014

888

47

14

2015

 

 

 

 



Number of Events / Deaths / Injuries

Flood Hail Lightning
Flood Events Hail Events Lightning
Thunderstorm winds Tornadoes All severe events
Thunderstorm Winds Tornadoes All Severe Events