NWS gives Marathon Co. tornado EF-0 rating - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

NWS gives Marathon Co. tornado EF-0 rating

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -

Representatives from the National Weather Service in Green Bay said Thursday's Marathon County tornado was given an EF-0 rating -- with winds up to 85 miles an hour.

Early Friday morning, investigators started searching for clues to find out what happened during Thursday night's storm. 

According to preliminary information, the NWS-GB tells Newsline 9 the tornado's path started about two miles south of Marathon City. Weather experts said the storm skipped along a five mile path -- northeast toward Wausau -- and ending near Sunny Vale Park.

"We saw the really dark clouds out to the west and I told my friend, it's probably going to get pretty bad because you see that yellow tint to the clouds and I always remember my parents telling me if you see that, things are going to get pretty wicked," said Joe Wille, who was in Rib Mountain when the storms hit.

First, the winds picked up. And then -- what some described as clouds of dust circling in the sky.

"They feel from the storm spotters that it was a tornado," said Marathon County emergency management director Steve Hagman. 

"I was a little nervous," said Wille. "I've lived in northern Wisconsin for quite a while when I was a kid and we had quite a bit of severe weather go through there so it doesn't scare me but I was pretty nervous."

The NWS said it was an EF-0 tornado -- the weakest kind. But with winds speeds above 80 miles an hour, the storm made its mark.

The winds from Thursday night's storms were strong enough to knock down a giant tree. But the owners of one home said they're surprised some smaller things, like their trampoline were hardly moved at all. 

Early Friday morning, Marathon County emergency crews combed the damage and reported back to the NWS.

"They have people that can analyze those pictures and it helps them identify the strength of that storm and the strength of the tornado," said Hagman.

Weather experts said the storm skipped along its path, dropping in from the sky at various points and knocking down trees and power lines. Marathon County authorities said no major damage or injuries were reported.

"I think we can all thank God that it wasn't another Merrill story," said Wille. "It only takes a second before things change and it could have been really bad."

In the calm after the storm, emergency officials said they're grateful for the people who helped keep everyone safe.

"They were able to keep control of everything, keep everything tracked and make sure they got the response they needed," said Hagman.
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