Sheboygan Tornado Rated EF0

Happy Monday. I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather. One of my favorite reasons to live here is while the rest of the country is baking under the summer heat, we often get breaks from the heat thanks to Lake Michigan. The northeast wind was comfortable today, although the dew points were still rather high in the upper 60s.

I want to recap the “freak” tornado that occurred yesterday in Sheboygan county. The National Weather Service sent out their team today to survey the damage. Here is what they found:

…RESULTS OF SHEBOYGAN COUNTY DAMAGE SURVEY…

STRENGTH-   EF0

MAX WINDS-  75 MPH

LENGTH-     3.5 MILES
            FROM 0.5 MILES N OF HOWARDS GROVE TO 0.7 MILES SW
            OF HAVEN.

MAX WIDTH-  50 YARDS.

TIME-       321PM TO 328PM…SUNDAY JULY 18

TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN AT 321 PM NORTH OF HOWARDS GROVE. TREE BRANCHES
WERE DOWN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRACK. SPORADIC DAMAGE WAS NOTED
TO THE NORTHEAST…ENDING JUST SOUTHWEST OF HAVEN AT 328 PM. A FEED
BIN WAS OVERTURNED NEAR THE END OF THE PATH. ADDITIONALLY…A TRUCK
AND ATTACHED TRAILER WERE OVERTURNED ON INTERSTATE 43 NEAR HAVEN.
FOUR OCCUPANTS WERE IN THE TRUCK. THE OCCUPANTS RECEIVED NO INJURIES.

An EF0 tornado is the weakest tornado you can have. However, even a weak tornado can cause damage. Every tornado needs to be taken seriously.

The one thing that I would like to see changed in local communities is when they sound the tornado sirens. This has happened numerous times this summer and every county and community seems to handle it differently. The tornado warning was for the extreme NE side of Sheboygan county. However, the sirens were sounded across the county. So if you were in Random Lake, you heard the sirens even though you had no chance of getting hit by a tornado. Random Lake is 25 miles from where the tornado occurred. I believe that this needs to be addressed by the local and statewide emergency managers. I worry that people will get complacent if they hear too many warnings and it is sunny in their location. This happened a week ago when a tornado warning was issued in central Washington county. The sirens were sounded in all communities in Washington county. We don’t want the “crying wolf” syndrome to take effect. People need to take shelter when the sirens are sounded. However, I believe only the communities in the path of the storm should be warned. There should be a statewide rule applied to tornado warnings.

Ok, I’m off my soap box. Last night, I thought we had a chance of severe thunderstorms for Monday night. Thankfully, the threat has pushed farther south thanks to the frontal boundary being pushed south by a big cluster of thunderstorms in Missouri and  Illinois. This should help keep any additional storms to our south tonight. Here is the latest outlook by the Storm Prediction Center.

New storms will likely fire this evening in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa, but they should move southeast overnight and miss SE Wisconsin.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Mark

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4 Responses

  1. Nice soapbox, Mark. I think many of the emergency management processes are quickly growing out of date.

    Many processes are still using EAS as the base of alerts. EAS is still county based. With the continued advancement of using location based mapping/plotting – there are better ways of doing this.

    Private industry is leading the charge. The first step beyond private industry advancements was the NWS using polygon warnings. These are easily plotted via many platforms and can be utilized in mobile devices in effect replacing weather radios with a finer granularity of alerts and other needed value add functions.

    In addition, no longer are locations static. Technology has caught up where you can be alerted on the go using GPS mapping and a bit of processing in determining if you are in or out of the polygon of risk.

    Lots of exciting stuff in this world, which I spend a great deal of time and effort in development. It is the wild west, and I am enjoying the benefits of this new technology. It will be a matter of time before EM processes catch up. It just could take a while.

    Scott

    • Thanks, Scott,

      I have had initial conversations with EM’s in our area and many have the tornado sirens wired across an entire county and can’t warn by specific location. Just another reason to never count on the siren to be your warning.

      Mark

  2. Thank-you Mark for addressing this issue with the tornado sirens. I have been complaining about their inconsistent use for years already, but have gotten nowhere. Several weeks ago when there was a tornado in NW Dodge County the sirens went off in my small community on the other side of the county. The tornado was headed away from us, yet they sounded those sirens here. We had sunshine the entire time.

    Like you said, people have become desensitized to those sirens and are very complacent when they go off. They use them here everyday as a noon whistle.

    • Thanks, Cliff,

      I have sent a note along to one of the regional Emergency Managers and I hope to at least get a dialogue going on this.

      Mark

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