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Four tornadoes confirmed in Western Wisconsin Friday night

Storm surveys from the National Weather Service have confirmed 4 tornadoes. Two near Turtle Lake, and two near Withee. This brings Wisconsin’s tornadoes from just Friday and Saturday to 14 along with widespread straight line wind damage.

These tornadoes were embedded in a line of severe thunderstorms producing an estimated 90mph straight-line wind gusts, according to the NWS report. A weather station in Cushing in NW Polk County measured an 84 mph wind gust and had sustained winds above 70 mph for 5 consecutive minutes. Only one of these four tornadoes had wind speeds higher than these straight line winds which were strongest in Polk and Barron Counties.

First, two tornadoes formed almost simultaneously near Turtle Lake. One started in Polk County before crossing into Barron, while the other was completely in Barron County. These tornadoes mainly produced damage to trees, though damage to roof panels on outbuildings on a farm 2.9 miles northeast of Turtle Lake was found to be caused by the EF-0 tornado.

Later, two more tornadoes close to each other in both location and time spun for only a couple minutes each in Clark County near Withee just north of Highway 29. These tornadoes also caused most of their damage to trees and rural areas, though damage to at least one residence was noted by the EF-1 tornado.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer was promoted to Chief Meteorologist in July of 2019 and has been our evening meteorologist for News 18 since June of 2016. Prior to that, he was our Saturday meteorologist starting in September 2014.

Matt was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He enjoys all the extremes that mother nature throws at the Badger State: from severe thunderstorms to blizzards to subzero temperatures.

Matt studied meteorology in the Midwest as well, earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology at Valparaiso University in Indiana. There, Matt was heavily involved in VUTV Weather, the Valpo student chapter of AMS/NWA, and VUSIT (Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team). He’s logged more than 20,000 miles chasing and studying severe storms all across the country and witnessed nine tornadoes including six in one day!

Matt describes himself as a Wisconsin boy at heart and enjoys cheering for the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Admirals just to name a few. He loves simply being outdoors and enjoys the Wisconsin wilderness especially in fall, and whitetail deer season!

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