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Early Season Winter Storm Moves into the Northeast; Cold Front Brings Snow Across the Northern Rockies into the Upper Midwest

The early season winter storm spreads to the Northeast bringing snow, sleet, and freezing rain to the region, in addition to gusty winds and coastal flooding. A series of cold fronts dropping southward from Canada will lead to snow across the Northern/Central Rockies into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Read More >

Overview

Wisconsin's longest ever tornado tracked across northwest Wisconsin during the late afternoon and early evening of May 16, 2017. It was 83 miles long and affected 4 counties. Sadly, it killed one man north of Chetek.  The tornado developed over southeastern Polk County, east of Clear Lake, and moved east-northeast across southern Barron County and into Rusk County.  Just before it would have reached the village of Weyerhaeuser, it turned straight east and moved across the rest of Rusk County and into the southwest part of Price County.  One hard hit area occurred just north of Chetek, WI where high-end EF2 damage was found. The most intense damage occurred north of the village of Conrath in Rusk County. A family home was completely collapsed down to the foundation and was rated EF3 (140 mph). The remainder of the tornadoes path ranged from EF0 to EF1 with mainly tree damage, and occasional structural damage.

National Weather Service tornado records began in 1950.

Click on the various tabs to see radar, damage pictures, weather maps, and more.

Damage Survey Viewer: 

Use our interactive damage survey viewer (using Flash) to see data points, ratings, damage photos and other details along the entire path. The link is here: https://apps.dat.noaa.gov/StormDamage/DamageViewer/.  You may want to open this in a new browser window.  The front page will ask you to "choose office ID." Select "Twin Cities" and click OK.  On the welcome page, click on "continue." The next page will be a map of much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the upper right of this page, you can select a begin date. Use the calendar to choose May 16, 2017 and click on the filter button.  You can zoom in and out, but to see a specific data point or track map, click on the pencil icon in the top center of the screen. An "Identify Toolbox" pops up. Now click on the "Select" icon.  Now you can click on any point such as a triangle, circle, damage path or contour.  If you've selected a damage point, you'll see details of the data point as well as a thumbnail photo.  If you click on the thumbnail, a separate window will open with a much larger image.

Some notes about the data:  some areas paralleling the multiple vortex tornado had substantial damage from the rear flank downdraft, inflow winds, or other nearby downbursts, and where possible, these are indicated by the green circles. The damage surveys took place on the ground on May 17 and 23, the Civil Air Patrol conducted a flight over the entire damage path on May 24, and the state of Wisconsin utilized a network of drone pilot volunteers to locate an operator who flew drone missions on May 17, and who flew the drone again on May 23.  The drone photos are denoted by the dark red circles.  Unfortunately, photos were not taken over every mile of the damage path, so in those areas, we have relied upon the ground survey data.  As new data are provided, we will gladly update this map and refine this information.  If you have any pictures or video of the storm itself, particularly the tornado, please contact us at w-mpx.webmaster@noaa.gov or post on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet.  Many thanks to the Civil Air Patrol and to drone pilot Branden Bodendorfer of Marshfield, Wisconsin.

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