From Racine microburst to freak Sheboygan county tornado

Our wild weather continues.  This summer has definitely kept us on our toes on WISN 12.

Let’s start with this morning’s storm in Racine county. A line of storms first developed north of Milwaukee, followed by another line that developed in western Racine county. These storms grew quickly and moved rapidly east. As the storm moved into Racine a microburst developed on the west side of the city and brought winds to 60 miles per hour. A microburst is created when a thunderstorm collapses creating a narrow, but strong area of wind.  These winds damaged trees and knocked out power to about 1000 homes. Check out one example of the wind damage in the following photo.

Those storm moved over the lake and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued in Michigan. No warning was given to Racine.

Later that afternoon, showers developed in Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc counties. These storms did not appear to be severe on radar. However, as a shower moved out of Manitowoc county into Sheboygan county the shower encountered the lake breeze. At 3:00 PM, winds at the Sheboygan lakeshore were south at 15 mph. At the same time, winds on the west side of Sheboygan were west at 18 mph.  This created a spin-up of what is known as a “landspout.” A landspout is a tornado that is created from a non-mesocyclone storm. There was no cloud to ground lightning noted in the storm. This was a very atypical tornado. The tornado developed northeast of Howards Grove and moved east across the interstate.  Take a look at the picture and you can pick out the tiny tornado.

The landspout tornado was strong enough to knock over a pick-up truck with a camper trailer on I-43. There were minor injuries, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. There was no other damage noted.

The above image is the reflectivity product of the National Weather Service radar out of Green Bay. It would be very difficult to issue any kind of warning based on the above image. It does not look like a dangerous storm.

The velocity product does show a tiny couplet of rotating winds NE of Howards Grove. This is the area where the tornado occurred. Again, not an impressive storm, but enough spin to create the landspout. I want to thank Scott Metsker for the above images.

This was a frustrating day as a meteorologist because you want to be able to give ample warning for these types of events. However, it is a good reminder to always use your own powers of observation when outdoors and weather approaches. Thanks for reading. A quieter night awaits.



3 Responses

  1. Being in Sheboygan, it was a very interesting day. First, we had a light shower move through. Suddenly, my weather radio went off, saying there was a tornado warning in effect, but skies were clearing outside! It was sunny! It seemed to me that by the time the warning was issued, the storm was already over the lake; also the storm was north of the city of Sheboygan and moving east, I don’t know why they put us in the warning. On top of it, by the time the sirens went off, which was a good 5 minutes later, the warning had already been cancelled! A hectic day for sure!

    • Thanks, Robert. I am not sure why city of Sheboygan sounded sirens. They were not included in the warning. The tornado/landspout was over the lake by 3:45.


  2. Microburst slammed east side of Racine, too. It came out of nowhere, hit for 5 minutes, and was gone. Amazing.

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