National Weather Service: First Feb. Tornado in WI History was an EF2

The February 8 tornado that caused the sirens to sound in Whitewater terminated just three miles west of Fort Atkinson.

NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan completed the tornado damage survey. Results are posted below.

Following further evaluation of damage on the northeast side of Evansville, we have determined that the Evansville-Lake Koshkonong tornado had peak winds of 130 MPH. This confirms the preliminary rating of EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Please refer to our weather story for additional information on Thursday’s tornado, including photos of damage from the event


Prior to 2024, the state of Wisconsin had never seen a tornado in the month of February. On the evening of February 8th, 2024, a rare, impressive setup for severe weather came together across southern Wisconsin. As a dynamic low tracked northeast across the Upper Mississippi Valley, the warm sector spread across the state of Wisconsin. Within the warm sector, afternoon sunshine allowed surface- based instability to develop, ~500 J/Kg. Along with the increasing instability, the dynamic system brought a plethora of deep-layer and low-level shear. The impressive shear profiles led to concerns for the development of rotating storms that would be capable of producing all hazards – but especially large hail and a few tornadoes. 

Here are a few stats about this severe weather event, dating back to 1986. Prior to the evening of February 8th, 2024: 

  • Zero Tornado Warnings had been issued in the state of Wisconsin during the month of February. NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan issued 5 Tornado Warnings during this event.
  • 17 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings had been issued in the state of Wisconsin during the month of February (9 in 1999, 4 in 2008, 3 in 2017). NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan issued 8 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings during this event.

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