A tornado with winds up to 90 mph touched down Wednesday night near Verona, uprooting trees and downing power lines along a 15-mile path before lifting near McFarland, the National Weather Service confirmed.
No injuries or structural damage were reported as a result of the EF1 tornado that accompanied one of many "super cell" storms — in which "the whole storm is rotating in an updraft" — that moved through the region Wednesday, said meteorologist Marcia Cronce.
But thousands of utility customers were still waiting for their lights to come back on Thursday morning as crews scrambled to get trees off downed power lines in a wide area of southern Wisconsin in the aftermath of Wednesday night's powerful storms.
About 6,000 Alliant Energy customers were without power Thursday morning — 4,323 customers in the south region of Wisconsin from Beloit northwest to Crawford County, and 1,641 in the north central region of Wisconsin that includes most of Dane County, outside Madison, north to Wood County.
By late afternoon, about 2,900 customers remained without power, including 190 in Dane County, 150 of those in the Verona area, said Alliant spokesman Scott Reigstad. In Rock County, 1,865 customers were still without power, 1,220 of those in Janesville.
Power was expected to by restored by Thursday night, except in Rock County, where it might take until Friday, Reigstad said.
MGE had about 200 customers waiting for their electricity to come back on Thursday morning, mostly in Monona and southern Madison near McFarland. All but a few had power restored by early afternoon, said spokesman Steve Kraus.
High winds downed dozens of large trees onto power lines, vehicles, homes and garages in most of southern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service had numerous reports of damage from 7-10 p.m.
In Iowa County southwest of Mineral Point, two 60-foot-tall trees were blown over along Highway 151, and utility poles were blown down near Rewey.
Near Evansville in Rock County, 70 mph winds blew down trees up to 24 inches in diameter. Roofs were damaged in Walworth County two miles west of Delavan, and aluminum siding was blown off a house near Muskego in Waukesha County.
Hail ranged from dime-sized in Mount Horeb to 1.75-inch near McFarland and Verona.
The tornado touched down 2½ miles west-southwest of Verona at 7:41 p.m., two minutes after the Weather Service issued a tornado warning as the rotation of a strong thunderstorm moving across Iowa County strengthened coming into Dane County, Cronce said. It lifted at 8:02 p.m., 3 miles northeast of McFarland.