There is a lot to say about the storms yesterday because there were a lot of them. It was one of the more widespread and long-lasting thunderstorm events in recent years. I would have to search through the weather records and storm reports of past years to assist my memory in finding a similar day. Just 3 years ago on June 7th we had a big weather event with the EF3 tornado that traveled 40 miles through Shawano, Menominee, Langlade, and Oconto counties. It was dramatic but it did not last all day long. As Brian mentioned yesterday, it appears that every county in the viewing area experienced some sort-of wind damage, power outages, or flash flooding. Again, I can’t remember a day in the past where every county in the area was under a warning at some point.
And how about that rainfall. It came down so fast and furious that it caused travel trouble in many areas. Here in Wausau there were many roads underwater both times when the storms rumbled through during the day. Not sure about the rain that came through during the night.
Flooding in Wausau
Typically, city streets not near streams or rivers, are not going to be as dangerous when flooded, however it is still a big pain-in-the-you-know-what when cars are driven into deep water and stall. Not only does this cause traffic delays and jams, it also takes emergency/safety personnel away from other more important tasks during a severe weather event. Several cars stalled in deep water in the metro area on Wednesday afternoon. One was up to its Windows in water! The official rain total at the downtown airport in Wausau was 2.70 inches, a record for July 14th (the old record was a paltry 1.21 inches). Including yesterday’s record rainfall, our yearly precipitation total in Wausau is now up to 16.25 inches – which believe it or not – is STILL 0.08 inches below normal. Many of our viewers and weather watchers reported 2 to 4 inches of rain with one report from Marshfield of 5 inches. What made this event unique is that the entire area had heavy rain. It wasn’t localized in one city or one county.
Lightning Blows Up a Tree Root
We have received a lot of pictures of flooding and trees down in the area, but one picture was unique and shows how dangerous one of the other weather threats can be. To the right you see a picture of a tree root that was “blown-up” by lightning. The picture was sent in by Debi in Park Falls. This should serve as a reminder to go inside whenever you hear thunder because that means you are close enough to the thunderstorm to be struck. If you are stuck outside, be sure to stay away from lone tall trees. Tall trees are lightning magnets. The electricity that travels through the roots can electrocute and kill a human being. It has happened many times in the past. It is better to stand out in the rain than stand under a big tall tree during a thunder/lightning storm.
As Brian mentioned yesterday, one thing that stands out is what didn’t happen – tornadoes. Most of the weather parameters that we look at to indicate whether torndaoes would form were…..OFF…..THE….CHARTS… yesterday. Yet, instead of several distinct supercell/tornadic storms, we had 3 different squall lines of severe thunderstorms. If tornadoes had formed, we might be dealing with more human tragedy today.
Sunset After the Storm - Bob Whetstone
As is, we have yet to hear of any injuries or fatalities in NorthCentral Wisconsin. People around here seem to be pretty savvy when it comes to staying safe during severe weather. During the June 7th tornado and severe hail event in 2007, we didn’t report any injuries or fatalities either. Great job everyone! The only significant tornadic storm that formed yesterday, started in northern Trempealeau county. Several witnesses reported a tornado on the ground near Osseo and once again crossing I-94 in northern Jackson county. This storm then moved through southern Clark county and might have been responsible for the damage reported around the Pittsville area – although by that time it might have transitioned into more of a straight-line wind storm. It might be hard for the NWS to determine if a tornado did in fact travel across most of southern Clark county because the area is very sparsely populated with few paved roads. It is mostly county forest and swamp land. If any one reading the blog today lives around that area, knows someone who might have seen the storm, or has pictures, please comment in the blog here, or email pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more in depth info, here is brief round-up of some of the damage reports in the area, provided by the NWS Green Bay, and one from NWS La Croose too!
Most importantly, please let us know if our coverage of the storm on TV and on the web was sufficient and helpful in helping you stay safe and plan your day. We always like to hear suggestions for improvement.
Thankfully it looks like we will have a nearly 3-day break from the rain and thunderstorms. Right now I am calling for a 50% chance of thunderstorms Saturday night into Sunday morning. During this time frame we could again end up with some heavy rain and gusty wind in parts of the area.
Since it is Thursday, I will finish up with the US Drought Monitor report. In Wisconsin the amount of the state that is drought-free increased from 51.0 percent last week to 53.6 percent this week. A small improvement, but great none-the-less! Remember that the Drought Monitor does not include the rain we had just yesterday. That will be factored into next week’s Monitor and I suspect we will see continued improvement.
Have a nice Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Drought, Records, Severe Weather, Viewer pictures, Weather Safety
This post was written by jloew on July 15, 2010