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Tornadoes rip WI

Powerful tornadoes ripped through southern Wisconsin Thursday night.

BY HEATHER MOYER | STOUGHTON, Wisc. | August 19, 2005

Powerful tornadoes ripped through southern Wisconsin Thursday night, killing one person and destroying more than 15 homes in the community of Stoughton.

The state emergency management agency is reporting that five other people were injured and more than 35 homes suffered moderate to severe damage. A shelter has been opened and several residents have been evacuated due to gas leaks.

The storm system that moved through the state all day Thursday caused widespread damage from high winds and tornadic conditions. Weather service officials say 27 tornadoes were reported across the state. As many as 24 people were injured by the tornadoes, some critically.

One tornado touched down in the Richland County community of Viola. Officials say as many as 80 homes suffered damage there, with three completely destroyed. Three people were injured by the twister. A local church is sheltering families.

In Monroe County, the city of Tomah saw a tornado touch down and severely damage two homes. Several others suffered minor and moderate damage.

Another home was destroyed by a twister in Sauk County, and several homes in Grant County saw tornado damage as well. Several homes and farming buildings were damaged in LaFayette County. High winds also knocked down trees and power lines in Marquette, Waushara, and Jefferson counties.

State and county emergency management officials are still assessing damages Friday morning. The state emergency management agency has also already contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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