Skip to Content

Severe weather awareness week: Is there a tornado alley in Wisconsin?

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

(WAOW) —  It's severe weather awareness week, and today News 9 takes a look into if there is a tornado alley in Wisconsin.

While many are aware of the notorious tornado alley in the central part of the United States, tornadoes can and do occur in almost every single state in the united states.

Stormtrack 9 Meteorologist Jeff Andrews explains the possibility of a "Wisconsin tornado alley".

Are there places in Wisconsin that are more prone to tornadoes?

Many of you are probably familiar with “Tornado Alley” - the great plains region of the U.S. where many large tornadoes form. Or perhaps even “Dixie Alley” in the south which has been a hot spot in recent years, but is there a tornado alley in Wisconsin? Are there certain counties where the frequency is higher?

Let's take a look at Wisconsin tornado reports from 1844 through 2020. You will notice that the highest occurrence of tornadoes is in southern Wisconsin. This makes sense as the southern part of the state is typically warmer and more humid and lies on the northern edge of the classic “Tornado Alley”. However, there does appear to be another place in the state with elevated tornado activity and that is from the Chippewa Valley through Marathon county.

Since 1844, there have been 60 tornadoes reported in Marathon county. Polk, Barron, Chippewa, and Clark counties all have at least 40 tornadoes during this time period.

Wisconsin Tornadoes by county on record (National Weather Service)

It could be that this is a minor tornado alley in Wisconsin, however, some have speculated that because these counties have a few large population centers and more wide-open farmland, it is more of a function of people seeing and reporting more tornadoes, not that there is something happening with the weather patterns over this part of the state.

Even though some counties have higher reports of tornadoes , you will notice that every county in Wisconsin has reported at least a handful of tornadoes throughout it's history,

So keep a watchful eye on the sky no matter where you are.

Author Profile Photo

Jeff Andrews

Skip to content