Quincy, WI Tornado, Jul 1984


A squall line of severe thunderstorms swept across southern Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon and evening like a macabre chorus line of meteorological break dancers, spinning off tornado warnings and knocking down power lines while people were still recovering from the blockbuster storms that hit Monday and earlier Tuesday.

There were several confirmed and unconfirmed sightings of funnel clouds, but the only report of serious damage from a confirmed tornado came from the Town of Quincy, about 30 miles north of Wisconsin Dells. There 20 to 30 houses, many of them summer homes, were destroyed about 4:50 p.m., according to the Adams County Sheriff's Department. No injuries were reported.

In other areas, winds ranging from 40 to 60 mph added to earlier storm damage by toppling trees and blowing out windows.

Heavy rains flooded roads and otherwise made life difficult for the utility workers who were still struggling Wednesday morning to restore power to 6,000 customers.

Wednesday's sunrise was accompanied by hope for a respite as mild and relatively dry air approached Wisconsin from the western Plains. The Milwaukee-area forecast calls for sunny skies Thursday with highs in the 80s.

That will be a welcome contrast to conditions during the past few days, which have made July a frightening, soggy month for weather. At Mitchell Field, for example, 3.01 inches of rain have fallen already this month - just 0.53 of an inch less than the normal total for an entire July.

In Milwaukee County, flights were diverted from Mitchell Field between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday until the threat of severe weather passed, airport officials said.

At 7:25 p.m., when a tornado warning sounded on the public address system, about 200 people in the terminal were escorted by deputies into the basement under the first floor ticket area, where they stayed until the all-clear at 7:55 p.m., said Greg Hetzl, airport operations coordinator.

Long delays were reported on all flights into Mitchell Field from O'Hare Airport in Chicago.

Meanwhile, on the North Side of Milwaukee, 10 cars stalled in a flooded underpass between N. 31st and N. 35th Sts. on W. Capitol Dr. That area was closed to traffic for about an hour, police said.

Milwaukee sanitation workers were called in to clean up a mudslide that blocked traffic in the 1800 block of N. Water St. and left the side of building foundation exposed.

Flooded intersections were reported at N. 3rd and W. Wright Sts., and at N. 10th St. and Capitol Dr. Sections of Lincoln Memorial Dr. also were flooded.

The tornado that touched down in Quincy tore through a subdivision that consisted primarily of summer homes, a spokesman for the Adams County Sheriff's Department said. Residents whose homes were destroyed had all found places to stay by Wednesday morning, though some spent the night in the Dellwood fire station.

In Washington County, a roof was partially blown off a barn on Sunset Drive in the Town of Addison shortly after 7:30, sheriff's deputies said. Allenton fire officials reported spotting a funnel cloud south of Highway 175 at 7:34 p.m.

In West Bend, police officials would not confirm a tornado sighting, but said that some trees had been uprooted by high winds and that power lines were down.

The Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, WI, 10 Jul 1984