Downburst Winds Hit Area

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest weather information!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  This past Wednesday right here in the blog I began discussing our chances for severe weather on Friday.  That chance played out and resulted in damaging winds of 60-70 mph across parts of our viewing area.

The hardest hit locations were in southern Jefferson county, and in Washington county.  The damage from the storms was likely the result of a downburst or microburst.  A downburst is a strong downdraft which includes an outburst of potentially damaging winds on or near the ground. If the diameter of the downburst is less than 2.5 miles, it is called a microburst.

The diagram below gives a fairly simple overview of a microburst.  This is from the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

So what did the downburst look like near West Bend this evening?  Jake Stehli took this photo near Richfield as the winds were descending out of the storm.  The winds are contained within the greyish column of air/rain in the middle part of the picture.

As Jake passed by Richfield on Highway 41, he caught this amazing shot of a cloud to ground lightning strike.  Also, notice the huge flag that is completely extended out as the strong winds were picking up.

Finally, the result of the wind gusts to 60-70 mph were a lot of downed trees.  This picture is from West Bend where scenes like this were all too common.  This tree survived many storms over the years, but not this one.  Thank you to Bob Kay for the picture!

Another area hit by downburst/microburst winds was Sheboygan.  This picture posted to the U-Local section of was taken on Franklin Street.  Another old tree was not match for the wind.

If you ever have a weather related picture to share, please post it to the U-Local section on  We love to show picture from U-Local on our newscasts!

For the weekend, a shower or storm may hang around into the early morning hours of Saturday, the rest of the weekend should be mainly dry and severe weather free.  A few showers could develop Saturday afternoon, but at this point don’t cancel your outdoor plans!

Make sure to watch WISN 12 for the latest on the weekend!

Jeremy Nelson


6 Responses

  1. I’m from Sheboygan, and it was quite a storm today. It really came out of nowhere, and we had partial sunshine while the rain poured down and the winds gusted to 60 mph! It was a crazy day, tons of trees and branches down, and I also saw a flooded intersection.

  2. The storm that hit Sheboygan is the same one we had here in the Lomira/Brownsville area in NE Dodge County around 5PM. I thought that we were going to lose our big maple tree in the back yard, but fortunately it withstood the strong wind. The winds flattened the neighbor’s soybean field.

    The storm just came up so quickly.

  3. Other than just a few showers, southeastern
    Waukesha county, including Muskego spared the
    severe storms. I think every county other than Milwaukee had a severe thunderstorm warning yesterday!

    • Come to think of it you are correct! Parts or all of our other counties in the viewing area were under a warning at some point.


  4. Hi, Jeremy!

    Reeseville {Dodge County, between Beaver Dam and Watertown} was not spared by the high winds and associated damage late Friday afternoon. My wife came home from Juneau around 4:15, we left to go to Horicon for dinner 15 minutes later, and in that time, the rain was coming down in buckets and the winds were bending the trees in our front yard almost as straight as that flag in the picture you’ve got in the blog. In that same amout of time three big trees at three different locations within a half-block distance in our neighborhood came down — one of them on a friend’s house, another blocking a driveway, and another blocking a lane of traffic.

    You’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work!

    • Don,

      Thanks for the info. I knew the winds were increasing quite a bit when one cell was moving northeast at 55 mph. The winds in northern Jefferson County also looked very impressive on the radar(velocity). Glad everyone was okay near you outside of the tree damage.


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