Tornadoes in Wisconsin

December 28, 2010 0 Comments

Update on the mini-snowstorm: The official total snowfall on Monday in Wausau was 0.70 inches. That is quite a bit considering there was no actual low pressure or “weather system” in the area.

While researching the weather data for my top 10 Northcentral Wisconsin weather events of 2010, I came across some bad information about tornadoes in the state. A story crossed the national wire that claimed Wisconsin had 68 tornadoes in 2010, making it the sixth most in the nation, with Minnesota being number 1 with a whopping 144. You can read a version of the story here, and you can see the SPC website list of tornadoes by state here. The problem is that the SPC table is depicting a preliminary total for the nation (and various states) that uses Local Storm Reports (LSR’s) for the tabulation. The final numbers only include tornadoes that are verified by local NWS investigation. The NWS in Wisconsin only verified 46 tornado touchdowns this year in Wisconsin – a far cry from the 68 in the SPC table. Unfortunately this story has traveled around the country and a lot of people are mis-informed. In the future, the SPC should be sure to better label the tornado statistics table as “PRELIMINARY”. One interesting thing is that even though the true number is only 46, it is the second-most ever recorded during one calendar year in Wisconsin.

Besides tornadoes (which made the top ten list, which will start tomorrow), here are a couple of honorable mentions for top weather events/statistics for 2010:

Honorable Mention #1. It was a warm year. 9 out of the 12 months were above normal – some of them significantly so. March was the 4th warmest on record for Wausau. The mean temperature in March was about 8 degrees above normal. April was not far behind with a mean temp about 6 degrees above normal.

Honorable Mention #2: The strange grouping of sets of 5 in daily records. According to my preliminary count, in Wasuau we had 5 record high temperatures (tied or broken), 5 record warm low temperatures (tied or broken), and 5 days with record precipitation. Another “almost” 5 was the 5 days in a row with nearly the exact same high temperature. From March 14th through the 17 the high temperature was 63, then on the 18th it only reached 62.

Now some other year-end and year forward science articles for you to peruse:

The year in technology from Newscientist Not the best list I have seen.

IBM’s next 5 in 5 What 5 technologies IBM thinks will affect our lives the most in the next 5 years.

New space exploration and “big” science coming in 2011.

The most significant virtual reality technology of 2010.

Have a good Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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