Tornadoes spotted in Rock Co., Grant Co. as storms roll through Wisconsin

Beloit, Wis. (Source: Ed W.)
Beloit, Wis. (Source: Ed W.)(NBC15)
Published: May. 23, 2020 at 4:05 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A stormy start to the Memorial Day weekend brought heavy rains - and possible tornadoes - to southern Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. As the day gave way to evening and the severe weather moved out, the rain remained, flooding some roads near the Illinois border.

The first possible tornado was spotted shortly after 3 p.m. in Grant Co. The Lancaster Fire Department said one was seen about two miles outside of town. The county's Emergency Management agency reported receiving multiple reports from storm spotters of a funnel cloud that was touching down west and northwest of Lancaster.

Emergency Management Director Steve Braun detailed the first warning came around 3:11 p.m. and the weather cell moved slowly across the county. By around 4:30 p.m., the worst of the weather had left the county. Braun added that no injuries were reported and firefighters from Lancaster and Bloomington were dispatched to check for damage, but none was reported.

Stacey Gengler and his family have lived in Lancaster for six years, and they were home when the sirens went off.

"We got down to the basement but you could see really see the green tinge in the sky, which is usually a pretty good indicator of tornado weather," Stacey remembered.

Stacey's 12-year-old son Max Gengler, said he spoke to his friend to warn him after hearing reports of tornadoes.

"He doesn't have a basement, I told him you're going to need to go to your grandma's here in Lancaster or go somewhere where you can get to a safe place," Max explained.

Stacey said he grew up in Lancaster and has seen several storms pass through the area. He said he is just glad no one was hurt on Saturday.

Rock County found itself under tornado warnings soon afterwards. A funnel cloud was seen outside Beloit shortly before 5 p.m. prompting a tornado warning for much of the area between the city and Janesville. Storm spotters also reported a possible tornado touching down multiple times near the I-90 and I-43 interchange, which spurred a second Rock County tornado warning.

No injuries were reported there as well. The heavy rains led to reports of washed out roadways in Rock County and worries about flooding in the area.