WAUKESHA COUNTY — The National Weather Service surveyed for possible tornado touchdowns throughout southeast Wisconsin on Wednesday morning with boots on the ground, sifting through tossed trees and pieces of a ripped shed roof scattered across the lawn.
All of the damage is the result of strong storms that pushed through southeast Wisconsin overnight, leaving homeowners including Rachael Mundschau and her family scrambling to clean up.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to see everything, and (we’re) just trying to figure out what to do first," Mundschau said.
Mundschau said she realized this was no ordinary storm late Tuesday.
“I walked the dog, and I noticed the foundation of the back shed looked funny,” Mundschau said.
Her in-laws, who have lived in the area nearly 52 years, are dealing with the most damage including a power outage and a tree on top of their home.
Mundschau’s daughter, Annalise, is afraid.
“This is really scary and really nerve-racking,” she said.
"We’re looking at what kind of damage occurred. That’s what we rate the tornado on. We can’t rate it based on what we saw on (the) radar. It's got to be what the damage is that we’re seeing on the ground." — National Weather Service Meteorologist Tim Halbach
Tim Halbach, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said he knew this would be a tornado. Now he’s working with a team to document the intensity.
“We’re looking at what kind of damage occurred. That’s what we rate the tornado on. We can’t rate it based on what we saw on (the) radar. It's got to be what the damage is that we’re seeing on the ground,” Halbach said.
Halbach and his team started in Jefferson County and worked their way eastward into Waukesha County. They also planned to visit Fort Atkinson to assess damage for a possible tornado there.