Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources compiled by Ron Larson. Each week on the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to some of these gems.
There have been an alarming number of violent and deadly tornadoes throughout the Midwest and southern states so far this year, with the death toll for the combined tornadoes in 2011 at nearly 500. Wisconsin has been fortunate not to have had any tornado related deaths this year, but the state has already experienced 26 tornadoes in the past couple of months, as of May 26.
According to the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management, 15 of those tornadoes occurred on a single day, April 10, while the other 11 took place on May 22. This is significant considering there were only 19 tornadoes in Wisconsin the entire year of 2009 and 18 in 2007.
The year with the most tornadoes in Wisconsin was 2005 with 62. On August 18 of that year, 27 tornadoes touched down, including the storm that passed south of Stoughton, killing one person.
Compared to the devastating tornadoes that have ripped through Joplin and Tuscaloosa and other southern communities, Wisconsin has managed to avoid the high fatalities. The Barneveld tornado killed nine and injured more than 200 on June 8, 1984. Wisconsin’s deadliest tornado, known as the “Circus Day Tornado”, destroyed New Richmond on June 12, 1899, killing 117.
Ron Larson, a blogger for WisconsinWatch.org and staffer at the Wisconsin Historical Society, spent most of his professional life organizing information and helping reporters find facts and data as the library director at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.