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Damage surveyors confirm 6 tornadoes hit Minnesota, Wisconsin in July 28 outbreak

The strongest tornado hit near Silver Lake, Minnesota.
Damage from a tornado near Luck, Wisconsin. 

Damage from a tornado near Luck, Wisconsin. 

Six tornadoes have been confirmed to have touched down – four in Minnesota, two in western Wisconsin – during a short-lived severe weather outbreak on Sunday, July 28. 

The National Weather Service sent out crews to assess damage where tornadoes were suspected to spinning up between 3:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., and they were able to confirm tornadoes near Biscay, Silver Lake (two) and Forest Lake/Scandia in Minnesota, in addition to twisters near Luck and Barron, Wisconsin. 

The strongest tornado hit near Silver Lake and was a 1/4-mile wide with 105 mph winds, making it a high end EF-1 tornado. The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF) measures the strength of a tornado by its winds: 

  • EF-0: 65-85 mph
  • EF-1: 86-110 mph
  • EF-2: 111-135 mph
  • EF-3: 136-165 mph
  • EF-4: 166-200 mph
  • EF-5: Over 200 mph

Here's a look at the paths tornadoes traveled, as determined by the NWS. 

Tornado 1: Biscay at 3:17 p.m. 

An EF-0 with 85 mph winds was on the ground for 4 miles with a maximum width of 200 yards. It flattened corn and caused damage to trees. 


Tornado 2: 3 miles south/southeast of Silver Lake at 3:32 p.m.

A brief spin up of an EF-0 with 65 mph winds was on the ground for 0.3 miles and was just 25 yards wide. It didn't produce much damage. 


Tornado 3: Silver Lake at 3:36 p.m. 

An EF-1 with 105 mph winds touched down southeast of Silver Lake and quickly reached 1/4-mile wide. It tracked across Hwy. 7 and then dissipated, but not before flattening corn, destroying a few outbuildings and damaging many trees and power lines. It was on the ground for 2.6 miles. 


Tornado 4: Forest Lake/Scandia at 4:26 p.m. 

The 1/4-mile wide, EF-0 tornado packed 90 mph winds as it touched down on the south side of Sylvan Lake and moved northeast across Bone Lake before fading south of Spider Lake in Chisago County. Most of the damage it was to trees, but it was powerful enough to snap trees that were 4-5 feet in diameter. 


Tornado 5: East of Luck, Wisconsin at 5:31 p.m. 

Another EF-0 with 90 mph winds spun up five miles northeast of Balsam Lake, crossed Bone Lake and then dissipated six miles east of Luck. Its maximum width was approximately 100 yards. 


Tornado 6: Near Barron at 6:41 p.m. 

A brief tornado was rated an EF-0 with 74 mph winds. It was only 25 yards wide and on the ground for 0.4 miles, damaging a farm outbuilding and trees/crops. 


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