April 10th Tornadoes

April 11, 2011 7 Comments

As you might have expected, today’s blog entry will deal with the severe weather that moved through Northcentral  Wisconsin on Sunday. First a couple of quick thoughts before getting into more detail:

  • Despite several tornado touchdowns and a lot of structural damage, so far we have not heard of any injuries or deaths.
  • The storms moved fast – it only took a bitover 2 hours for the supercells thunderstorms to move from west to east.
  • Several counties in the area were affected by tornadoes, yet all of the bad weather missed the 4 biggest cities (Marshfield, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau)

The most difficult part of the post storm analysis is trying to determine how many tornadoes affected the area. It does not appear that the tornadoes touched down and then remained on the ground for over 2 hours as they crossed the area. It is more likely that the supercell thunderstorms periodically dropped tornadoes to the ground. If each touchdown ends up being counted as a tornado, then the final tally could be more than the 5 Tony and I figured late last night. The National Weather Service will be out conducting storm surveys over the next couple of days and we will pass their official report on to you later the week. As of now (if you are reading this today – April 11th) you can go to this link for the SPC’s preliminary accounting of tornado reports.

There were essentially two strong supercell-type thunderstorms that moved through our area. One traveled along highway 29 in northern Clark county and then eventually turned northeast through Merrill and eventually on up into northern Langlade and southern Forest counties. The first report of a tornado touchdown with this storm cell was just north of Augusta in Eau Claire county. There were a couple reports of funnel clouds in northern Clark county and eastern Taylor county but no official touchdowns as of this writing. The next time we had a report (at least an unconfirmed report) wind damage from a possible tornado was in the Hamburg area of Marathon county. The third touchdown was in the Little Chicago area. As many of you know, these two small communities are only 3 to 4 miles apart so these two reports of a tornado touchdowns were probably the same tornado (based on preliminary information). That tornado might have then stayed on the ground as it move northeastward toward Merrill. We have several reports, pictures, and video of the tornado as it struck the north side of Merrill and continued on up toward the Gleason area. It is unknown at this time whether that tornado stayed on the ground all the way up northern Langlade county or whether the tornado lifted and came down again. In any case, we received at least one report of a large tornado on the ground in northern Langlade county by have yet to receive any pictures or video of the twister or damage caused by it. If anyone has pictures or video from northern Langlade or southern Forest county, please send them to weather@waow.com. The supercell storm moved into Forest county and produced large hail, but as of yet there are no reports of tornado touchdowns in Forest county.

The second strong supercell storm started near the La Crosse area and a funnel cloud was eventually spotted in central Monroe county. When the storm moved into the Necedah area there were many reports of trees down and at least one garage roof blown off. That same storm crossed into Adams county and continued to produce wind damage around Arkdale and further east toward Cottonville. Based on reports from our weather watchers, there were miles of trees blown down and reports of several structures demolished. This storm remained strong as it trekked through Waushara county and caused more wind damage in the Fremont area of southern Waupaca county. As for tornado reports, there was one possible touchdown near Arkdale and Strongs Prairie, and another near Fremont. So far, we have not seen any pictures or video of a funnel clouds or tornado with this southern storm (update, here is a video of the tornado that traveled through Adams county). Again, if anyone has documentation (pictures or video), please send them to weather@waow.com

Tornado near Merril, Picture by Samuel L. Hall

Lastly here is one of the more “close-up” pictures of the tornado in Lincoln county taken by Samuel L. Hall of Wausau. If you look closely you can see the flying debris.

We will continue to post pictures later today and tomorrow here in the blog and on our StormTrak9 facebook page.

Have a good Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Brad Miller says:

    I was out chasing yesterday with a bunch of UW AOS grad students. We started out near in Southeast MN and ended up following the storm that produced the possible tornado near Arkdale. There was a good looking wall cloud with the storm just east of La Crosse, then it weakened somewhat, then strengthened again as it approached central Wisconsin. Unfortunately we missed the strenghtening phase due to the terrible road network east of La Crosse. We finally caught up to the storm east of Adams-Friendship, just as the wall cloud began to dissipate. Based on the storm reports, if there was a tornado we probably missed it by about five or ten minutes. But there definitely was a wall cloud with rotation.

  2. Brad Miller says:

    And when I talk about the wall cloud with rotation, I mean in central Wisconsin – we saw the storm probably just as it passed Arkdale, we were watching from Highway J, just south of Highway 21.

  3. jloew says:

    Awesome Brad, thanks for the report! I wish I was out there with you chasing.

  4. Tom says:

    I was in Necedah (just north of the intersection of Hwy 21 and County G) and observed a rotating cloud extending down out of the otherwise solid grey sky. This cloud was headed directly east towards Arkdale while the other clouds were headed northeast. It could have been a funnel but the tree line did not allow me to view how far down the cloud extended. We had wind (no noticable damage), hail (about .75″ diameter), and heavy rain.

  5. jloew says:

    According to other storm chasers and the NWS, that rotating cloud was the one that eventually dropped the tornado near arkdale, which then continued eastward through the rest of central Adams county. Thanks for the report Tom.

  6. Julia Berg-Stahel says:

    Justin, can you direct me to a link where I can see yesterday’s (4/11) evening report where you showed my picture I submitted yesterday of the tornado in Merrill? We still did not have power so we were unable to watch the news but several people have told me about it. Thanks,

    Julia Berg-Stahel

  7. jloew says:

    Hi Julia:

    If you check our weather page right now and click on the video: http://www.waow.com/global/category.asp?c=197501
    Your picture was first in the weather show.

    Your picture also made it the official National Weather Service review: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grb/?n=110410_tornadoes

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