2012 has been really slow when it comes to tornadoes in the state of Wisconsin. Through August 14th, we have had just 3 confirmed tornadoes. Average for a season in Wisconsin is 23. The most we have ever had in one year is 62 (back in 2005). If we don’t get any tornadoes for the rest of August, the first eight months of 2012 would be tied with 1961 for the third fewest twisters to this point in the year. 1952 had 2 tornadoes in the first eight months while, 1952 had the fewest with 1. The three twisters confirmed so far in 2012 in the Badger State are listed below. By the way there has been no fatalities or injuries, thankfully.
1. May 24th – Marathon County – EF0 (701-707 pm) – 3.7 SSE Marathon to 4.8 ENE Marathon. Path length 5.94 miles and max width 75 yards. Damage to trees only.
2. May 27th – Polk County – EF0 (813-815 pm) – 1.8 NNE Luck to 2.0 NE Luck. Path length 0.19 mile and max width 25 yards. No damage – it was in a marsh.
3. Aug 9th – Douglas County – EF0 (1111-1120 am) – Duluth/Superior Harbor Airport area and Barkers Island. To read story and see pictures click here.
Below is a simple plot of 2012 tornado positions in Wisconsin. Click on image for larger version.
Of course drought and lack of tornadoes go hand in hand. We just haven’t had as many thunderstorms as usual rumbling across the state to potentially produce a tornado. While we have already passed the peak of tornado season in Wisconsin (June and July), it is not too unusual to have a few pop up yet in late August and early September. As the sun gets lower in the sky though heading toward autumn there is less heat available and the atmosphere doesn’t usually get quite as unstable. As such it is harder for strong thunderstorms to form. However the wind fields in the atmosphere generally start strengthening toward Autumn which means that any storms that do form could find themselves in a more favorable environment for rotating. You can see more interesting Wisconsin tornado statistics from the following link from the National Weather Service Milwaukee-Sullivan. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=85908&source=0