National Weather Service says EF-0 tornado hit Madison's east side: "It was pretty nuts!"

MADISON -- The National Weather Service said Sunday a preliminary analysis of damage in the Madison area has indicated an EF-0 tornado struck Saturday, October 7th.

The NWS-Milwaukee noted that while tornadoes in October in Wisconsin aren't common, this isn't unprecedented.

Late Saturday afternoon, a line of showers developed along a frontal boundary pushing northeast through southern Wisconsin.

According to the NWS, these showers weren't big/tall enough to produce lightning, but there was enough shear (changing wind directions and wind speeds) and instability, coupled with a very moist atmosphere, to cause many of the showers to rotate. The shower that moved through the east side of Madison was strong enough to produce a tornado along East Washington Avenue, tracking northeast to the I-39/90 interstate. That would be a path of about five miles (4.2 to be exact). It was on the ground for less 10 minutes, from about 4:59 p.m. through 5:06 p.m.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the storm damaged the roof of a car wash and ripped the facade from a convenience store.

Steve Peters says high winds toppled a walnut tree that destroyed his back porch and detached garage. Peters says the damage "looked like a bomb went off."


The NWS' preliminary damage assessment suggests that this was an EF-0 tornado with winds of 70-80 miles-per-hour. It had a width of 50 to 100 yards.

Since the storm hit, the NWS has received reports of several trees down, some trees on homes and damage to a few businesses.

Dave Meyer captured the tornado on camera -- by accident.

"In the video you can see the top of the trees just go flying off. That building, it took off part of the roof of that building right there, and took their signs down. It was pretty nuts!" Meyer said.

Meyer said he hit "record" in an effort to show his girlfriend how windy it had gotten. He had no idea what was heading his way.

"It didn't cross my mind it might be a tornado. There wasn't any warnings. We didn't have any warnings. The actual warnings didn't show up for about five or 10 minutes after that. To think about it -- that wasn't even a super powerful tornado. You know, it was like a baby tornado, and that tree went flying," Meyer said.

Twenty-four hours later, cleanup was well underway Sunday on Madison's east side.

"Destruction. There was metal over here wrapped around a tree. Branches snapped everywhere. Power lines sizzling the grass on the other side of the street," a neighbor said.

And as quickly as it came, it was gone, leaving downed trees, damaged roofs and a bunch of yard work for some.

"Everyone is outside, making sure everyone is safe and cleaning up everyone's yard," a neighbor said. "Just glad everything is OK. Could have been a lot worse."

CLICK HERE for more on this storm via the National Weather Service's website.