WeatherWeather Blog


Severe Weather Awareness Week: How to stay safe during a tornado

Watch: Rare blitz of tornadoes in Illinois
Posted at 5:51 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 06:51:25-04

Tornadoes can happen at any time of the year if the conditions are right. In Wisconsin, tornadoes are most common in June, followed by July, August, and May.

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The graph shows all tornadoes ever recorded in Wisconsin each month.

Tornadoes can happen anywhere in Wisconsin. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city like Milwaukee or a small town in Dodge County. Tornadoes have happened in every county in the state.


As we approach the months where severe weather is more common, it’s important to have a plan in place in case a tornado was to happen while you’re at home, work, or school. The best place to go is a basement, away from window wells or walk-out doors. If you do not have access to a basement, find an interior room in the center of your home or the building you’re in. The goal is to put as many walls between you and the outside elements. This provides as many barriers as possible to protect you from flying debris. Bring pillows and blankets and/or climb into the bathtub or under a table to increase your protective layer.

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It’s not only about where you go to protect yourself during a tornado, but what you wear can protect you too. If you have time, grab any type of helmet, for example a bike, ski, or construction helmet, will protect your head. Shoes will make it easier to climb over any debris after the storm has passed.

Click here for some common tornado myths.

Tornado Facts:

Tornadoes vary in strength, shape, track length, and duration. The Enhanced Fujita Scale breaks down a tornado’s strength based on the estimated wind speed after survey crews review the damage.

  • EF0: Winds Up to 85 mph
  • EF1: Winds 86-110 mph
  • EF2: Winds 111-135 mph
  • EF3: Winds 136-165 mph
  • EF4: Winds 166-200 mph
  • EF5: Winds Over 200 mph

95% of Wisconsin tornadoes are EF0, EF1, OR EF2. In 2020, Wisconsin had 20 tornadoes, 11 EF0 and 9 EF1. Click here for more information on past Wisconsin tornadoes.

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