Storms developing in southern Wisconsin expected to impact Milwaukee area Tuesday night as tornado warning expired in Walworth County

The threat of severe weather will continue into Tuesday night despite sunshine making an appearance Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

A tornado warning expired in Delavan, Pell Lake and Walworth in Walworth County at 2:45 p.m. NWS shared that radar had indicated a tornado in that area.

"Two main rotations that we're watching right now," NWS wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "One near Darien [and] another just south of Walworth," moving northeast.

NWS meteorologist Marcia Cronce said they won't be able to confirm a tornado Tuesday, but the weather service received reports of a semitruck blown over, downed power lines and large tree branches in Walworth County. Scattered power outages have been reported throughout southeastern Wisconsin, she said.

According to Alliant Energy, about 700 customers were without electricity in the Walworth County area as of 6:15 p.m.

The weather service warned that pea-sized hail is possible in the warning area as a new round of storms sits over southwestern Wisconsin and will make its way into the Milwaukee area Tuesday night.

A tornado watch was issued for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties, as well as much of Illinois and Indiana and portions of southwestern Michigan.

The tornado watch is in effect until 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central. However, it could be canceled earlier in the evening if the weather clears up.

Hail and high winds are likely in the areas under the watch. Winds could be 60 mph or higher, and hail between pea-sized and quarter-sized is possible, said meteorologist Marcia Cronce with the weather service.

Thunderstorms, severe weather expected across southern Wisconsin, Milwaukee County

"On-and-off" scattered thunderstorms are expected throughout this evening across southern Wisconsin, Cronce said. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that Milwaukee County will see tornado watch conditions. The area is expected to see strong thunderstorms and could see smaller hail and gusty winds.

So far, Wisconsin has seen two tornados in 2024, both in the month of February.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, NWS received reports of hail 1-inch in diameter in Sussex and wind damage in Walworth.

Severe thunderstorm warnings in southern Wisconsin

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued this afternoon in southern Wisconsin.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning in the Kenosha, Racine and Mount Pleasant area is in effect until 4 p.m.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning in the Franklin, Oak Creek and Caledonia area is in effect until 4 p.m.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning in the West Bend, Germantown and Jackson area is in effect until 3:30 p.m.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning in the Racine, Mount Pleasant and Caledonia area is in effect until 3:30 p.m.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning in the Burlington, Elkhorn and Lake Geneva area expires at 3:15 p.m.

What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

Tornado watch: A tornado watch defines an area where tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather are possible. A tornado watch does not mean tornadoes are imminent, just that everyone should be alert and prepared to go to safe shelter if tornadoes occur.

Tornado warning: A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted, or that Doppler radar has detected a thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado. When a tornado warning is issued for your town or county, take immediate safety precautions.

What should I do during a tornado warning?

Here's what to do during a tornado warning, depending on where you're located:

  • A house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection such as a heavy table or work bench. Know where very heavy objects are on the floor above, i.e., pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc., and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor.

  • A house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, a small center room like a bathroom or closet, under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

  • Office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building, away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter.

  • Mobile or manufactured home: "Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building," according to the Storm Prediction Center. "Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan."

  • School: Follow the procedures from tornado drills. Go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

  • Car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. "There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones," according to the Storm Prediction Center. "If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado." Park the vehicle out of traffic lanes and seek shelter in a sturdy building or underground if possible. "If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands," according to the SPC. "Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris."

  • In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

  • Shopping mall or large store: Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

  • Church or theater: Move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Wisconsin weather radar

Wisconsin weather warnings

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: New round of storms developing in southern Wisconsin