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Reporting Severe Weather 

Reporting Severe Weather 

Severe weather reports are always appreciated.

Email them to us at
Reports, Photos, Videos are all welcome!

Winnebago County SKYWARN is held on 147.195   when severe weather is in our area.
Note: You can listen to the SKYWARN on your scanners and radios. But to participate you need your ham radio license.  More info at

Here’s how to properly report the various severe weather hazards.

• Funnel clouds and tornadoes:
Funnel clouds are not in contact with the ground. Tornadoes are in contact with the ground, but note that tornadoes are the wind, not the cloud! Even if the tell-tale condensation funnel is not extending all the way to the ground, swirling dirt or debris being kicked up at ground level means that a tornado is in progress.

Damaging wind gusts:
Unless you have a home or portable anemometer to directly measure the wind speed, whenever possible report the damage that occurred to correlate with the wind speed instead of estimating wind gust speed.

• Hail size:
Either measure or estimate to the size of a coin or ball, NOT MARBLE size.

Know the difference between flash flooding (>= 6″ depth of moving water, >= 3 ft depth of standing/ponded water) and flooding (< 6″ depth moving water, < 3 ft depth of standing/ponded water) when reporting.

REMEMBER: Safety First!
Include your location (to the nearest intersection if possible) and the time the event occurred when sharing reports.

Thunderstorm Criteria:

    • Tornadoes or funnel clouds (be very wary of look-alikes; watch for rotation)
      • Rotating appendage from a cumulonimbus cloud not touching the ground
    • Wall clouds, especially if they are rotating
  • Hail (Be specific with regard to size)
    • Report any size and specify diameter.
    • Quarter (1″) and larger is severe!
    • Hail Sizes Chart
  • Wind Gusts
    • 40 mph or greater; specify whether estimated or recorded
    • large branches downed (specify diameter of branch)
    • Trees/power lines downed
    • Structural damage to buildings (roof, windows, etc.)
  • Rainfall
    • 1 inch or greater in an hour and every inch thereafter
    • 2 inches or greater storm total
  • Flooding
    • Report any flooding
    • Basement, road
    • Streams/Rivers — also, when nearing bankfull
    • Street (depth of water)

Tornado: A violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm cloud to the ground. The Enhanced Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale is used to categorize tornadoes

Funnel Cloud: A condensation funnel extending from the base of a towering cumulus or cumulonimbus, associated with a rotating column of air that is not in contact with the ground (and hence different from a tornado). A condensation funnel is a tornado, not a funnel cloud, if either a) it is in contact with the ground or b) a debris cloud or dust whirl is visible beneath it.

Wind Damage

What kind of damage did the wind cause?

  • Small limbs down (less than 2″ in diameter)
  • Large limbs/branches down (more than 2″ in diameter)
  • Trees snapped or uprooted
  • Power lines down
  • Structural damage and/or Roof damage


What size hail did you see?

  • Pea Size: 0.25 inches
  • Small Marble: 0.50 inches
  • Penny: 0.75 inches
  • Nickel: 0.88 inches
    Any hail size at or above a Quarter (1.00 inches) is severe thunderstorm criteria:
  • Quarter: 1.00 inches
  • Half Dollar: 1.25 inches
  • Ping Pong Ball: 1.50
  • Golf Ball: 1.75 inches
  • Hen Egg: 2.00 inches
  • Tennis Ball: 2.50 inches
  • Baseball: 2.75 inches
  • Grapefruit: 4.00 inches
  • Softball: 4.50 inches


What kind of flooding was observed?

  • Minor street flooding
  • Low water crossings flooded
  • Widespread flooding
  • Home/Business flooded
  • Creek/Stream out of banks
  • River out of banks

Below are some graphics from others that are helpful in learning how to report severe weather criteria.

Cleveland NWS, but the same concept


If you have information on this, you can contact us at
We will keep you anonymous.

If you do not want to contact the police directly, you can contact us  and we will relay your information to the proper agencies if needed, and keep you anonymous.

Disclaimer: As you know the local police have encrypted, have not released any information, etc…
They rarely ever do release information to the public, since encrypting. So do not expect any updates.

The information that is posted was provided to us via various sources. So we can not guarantee the accuracy of this article.

We can only provide you the information that IS provided to us. If police and/or officials do release information, we will try to update this.
If you know of any corrections or errors, please contact us.

This is for entertainment purposes only. 

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