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Looking back on a destructive tornado 20 years later

A tornado approaches Door County Aug. 23, 1998. (WLUK file image)

(WLUK) -- As Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week continues, I take a look back at a strong tornado that touched down in the area.

Twenty years ago, an F3 tornado in Door County caused about $7 million in damage. A lot of you may remember it.

I followed the storm with severe weather coverage that day here at FOX 11, and Rachel was in Door county the next morning on Good Day Wisconsin looking at the destruction it caused.


In the evening of Aug. 23, 1998, a powerful tornado was approaching Door County.

Radar from the National Weather Service shows the tornado as it was over the waters of Green Bay toward Door County. It came on shore at 6:30 p.m., three miles southwest of Egg Harbor. When it did, it took down thousands of trees as it moved through Murphy Park.

At that time it was about a half-mile wide!

The tornado was on the ground for 14 minutes, had a path of about 5 miles and ripped a farmhouse from its foundation.

The thing I most remember about the Door County tornado was when I went up to report on the damage. It was dark, you couldn't see anything and officials wouldn't let you in the affected area. It was the next morning when Rachel Manek went up there and the first thing you saw when the sun came up was the damage in Door County.

Trees were split in half, a campground was hit, and there was a lot of damage with overturned campers and downed trees. Unbelievably, with all the damage, only two people were hurt during this tornado.

One more thing: This tornado busted another tornado myth, one that said large bodies of water impacted the formation of tornadoes. Door County is between Lake Michigan and the waters of Green Bay, and it still was an F3 tornado, with wind speeds of 136-165 mph.

More Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week coverage:

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