Wisconsin storms bring three tornadoes

Three tornadoes have caused widespread damage across the US state of Wisconsin.
Three tornadoes have caused widespread damage across the US state of Wisconsin.

At least three tornadoes have touched down in Wisconsin amid powerful thunderstorms that caused widespread damage and contributed to the death of a man who crashed into a fallen tree and power line.

The severe weather stretched from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and began Wednesday evening in northwestern Wisconsin. By 2am on Thursday, the numerous tornado warnings around the state had expired.

Hours later, one man died when he crashed his vehicle into a fallen tree and power line near the town of Ripon, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The National Weather Service surveyed hard-hit areas in southeastern Wisconsin and confirmed one tornado, probably rated EF1, caused damage around the Jefferson County community of Concord, toppling farm buildings.

Cows could be seen grazing among debris that landed in farm fields. By Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed at least two other tornadoes were also responsible for damage near Waukesha and Watertown.

Governor Tony Evers signed a declaration imposing a state of emergency in Wisconsin.

The weather service on Wednesday warned the severe weather sweeping across upper Midwest states could include hurricane force winds and tornadoes and develop into a derecho - a rare type of storm that's often described as an inland hurricane.

Utility crews worked to restore service to thousands of power customers. Electricity was knocked out to about 90,000 customers across the state.

Australian Associated Press