An afternoon storm on Tuesday tore across central Wisconsin, dumping heavy rain and hail along with high winds that spawned tornadoes in Fond du Lac, Dodge, Calumet and Sheboygan counties. One of the hardest-hit areas is southwestern Fond du Lac County in the townships of Alto and Waupun. It was confirmed Wednesday that the area was hit by an EF1 tornado. That tornado produced 100-mph winds, the National Weather Service says.
Several homes and one dairy farm in the small community of Alto were damaged, along with several homes in Waupun. Huge trees were uprooted or knocked down, and roofs were torn off homes and farm buildings. Some buildings were destroyed by the storm. Many fields of corn were flattened. The storm dumped between 6 and 7 inches of rain on the area on Tuesday, causing streets and small streams to flood throughout the area. The Rock River also flooded. Power lines were knocked down, and many power poles were leaning throughout Alto and the surrounding area. According to Alliant Energy, electricity was not expected to be fully restored to the area for several days.
One of the hardest-hit farms is owned by the Dick Wetzel family on Hemp Road in Waupun Township, about 2 miles east of Alto and 4 miles north of Waupun. The Wetzels milked more than 600 cows in a freestall-milking parlor setup. Five cows were killed in the storm. Their two freestall barns, milking parlor, heifer barn, a shop and a house were all heavily damaged by the storm. All their cows were moved after the storm to area farms. The Wetzels, their employees and many friends and neighbors were busy cleaning up the farm on Wednesday.