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Stoughton Tornado - Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)



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Q: Was anyone killed or injured?
A: Yes. One man (Harold Orlofske) was killed on his way to seek shelter in his basement. Three people were badly hurt and twenty more were injured, treated and released.

Q: How much damage was caused?
A: 89 houses were destroyed (swept away, leveled, or too badly damaged to repair). Another 67 houses were badly damaged and another 84 suffered some damage. Total losses were at least $43 million, including $35.5 million to homes, $5 million to farms and crops, $2 million to utilities and just $200 thousand to businesses. Nearly all the monetary losses were covered by insurance. (Official numbers are from Dane County Emergency Management as reported in the September 1, 2005 edition of the Stoughton Courier-Hub.)

Q: How big was the tornado?
A: The tornado traced a ten-mile (or twenty-mile) path and was itself up to a half mile wide at some points. Images suggest to my highly untrained eye that it was about a mile or mile and half high.

Q: How strong was the tornado?
A: Despite local grumbling about the twister being a "weak F4", the official designation was a "strong F3" with winds around 200 miles an hour. Depending who you ask, this puts it in the top 91-94% percentile of tornado strength.

Q: Was it a federal (FEMA) disaster?
A: No. Various representatives from the towns, city and state met with FEMA and submitted a formal proposal, but it was ignored. Despite local grumbling about Bush's politics colliding with Dane County's politics, Bush's denial of the request was not entirely unexpected. In 2005 FEMA granted only two tornado disasters (through September). One was for an F2 tornado in Cheney's home state of Wyoming, but those affected were quite poor. In 2005 FEMA also shot down a disaster request after a deadly tornado in Georgia. Finally, rumor has it that Stoughton's tornado was lumped in with others in Dane, Richland and Jefferson county and failed to meet FEMA's internal per capita criteria for amount of people/property affected while exceeding per capita criteria for percentage of losses insured.


Q: Were you affected by the tornado?
A: No. My house and family were completely untouched. (Read my boring story soon.) Like a lot of people in the area, I feel a bit guilty about this fact and I'm probably dwelling on the tornado more than I should because of it.

Q: Did you volunteer?
A: Yes. My wife and I convinced our mothers to watch the kids (thank you!) and cleaned up in the Town of Dunn on Saturday, August 20 and in the Town of Pleasant Springs on Sunday, August 28. I also took off of work on Tuesday, August 23 and spent a full day working in the Town of Pleasant Springs (though I was registered under the Town of Dunn at the time - go figure). My wife and I and four other families were also a part of a five-house historic home tour that raised almost $3,000 on Sunday, September 25.

Q: How are you related to (reporter/alderperson) Melissa Lampe?
A: She is my wife. I'm a lucky man, aren't I?

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: If you're really interested in that kind of information, please head over to my much more upbeat personal web site.

Web Site

Q: Why did you name this site "stoughtontornado" instead of "townofdunntornado", "townsofdunnandpleasantsprings" or "townshipssurroundingstoughtonandalittleofstoughtontoo"?
A: I think you just answered your own question; "stoughtontornado" is the easiest to remember and the easiest to type.

Q: Why did you use a ".org" extension?
A: For more than ten years, ".org" sites have been associated with major not-for-profit organizations. (For example, try "http://www.redcross.org") I wanted to be absolutely clear that this a not-for-profit, personal web site.

Q: Who's paying for this site?
A: Me. I'm trying to keep the site lean to keep bandwidth expenses low (it's really hosted at Standard Networks in Madison) on an old machine of mine. I'm also chipping in the ten bucks a year for the domain name.

Q: What is this site written in and hosted on?
A: I wrote the site using a Windows text editor called "TextPad". The server-side scripting language I am using is "PHP"; I used a scripting language rather than static HTML mainly so I could micromanage included files. I used a Windows graphics editor called Paint Shop Pro to work with all graphics and photos. I am hosting this site on a personal 400Mhz PII Slackware Linux server running an Apache web server. You are viewing this site over shared T1 connection to the Internet.

"www.StoughtonTornado.org" is owned by Jonathan G. Lampe This not-for-profit web site hosts a scrapbook covering the August 18, 2005 Stoughton area tornado. The photo of the tornado in the header was taken by Jerry Currie and is used with his permission. Copyright is claimed only to protect my right to publish my own (rather sparse) original content; you are free to make copies of my original content. Archived and attributed content (e.g., images and articles) may be subject to individual copyrights. Sources, attribution and original publisher are listed to the best of my ability. This site is not an official publication nor am I officially connected to the Stoughton Area Tornado Relief Fund or the Long Term Recovery Board , although I consider myself a "booster".