Discover the Wisconsin Town Most Likely to Be Hit by a Tornado

Written by Jaydee Williams
Updated: July 24, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Fox Lake, Wisconsin, is the town most vulnerable to tornadoes in the state.
  • Fox Lake holds the title of being the tornado capital of Wisconsin, despite its small size, with a population of 1,544.
  • Fox Lake has a score of 290.55 on the tornado index.

Wisconsin is 18th in the nation for tornadoes, meaning that the state gets them fairly often. Knowing which parts of Wisconsin are more at risk is helpful for residents and visitors.

Most people won’t choose to live in a place where tornadoes are more likely. If they do live in the tornado capital, it’s important to be aware so that they can prepare for the possibility of one. 

The Wisconsin town that is most likely to be hit by a tornado is Fox Lake.

The Tornado Capital of Wisconsin

Fox Lake is the tornado capital of Wisconsin. It’s a pretty small town with a population of 1,544. Fox Lake is located in southeast Wisconsin, and it’s a part of Dodge County. It was first established in 1838, making it the first part of Dodge County to be settled. Fox Lake has a score of 290.55 on the tornado index.

This is a score equal to the 476th most likely city in Oklahoma to be hit by a tornado, so while it isn’t the highest it is certainly more likely to be hit than other areas in the nation.

Fox Lake. Wisconsin. USA
Fox Lake certainly has a high rating on the tornado index for the state of Wisconsin.


Fox Lake History

The town was named for a reason, as the settlement was built on the edge of Fox Lake. The lake provided a water source and a recreational site for those traveling through Wisconsin. The town quickly became a stopping point for travelers going between Fort Winnebago and Fort Howard. 

Fox Lake was first inhabited by the Winnebago Indians, who called the area “Hosh-a-rac-ah-tah”. This meant “good land”. Over time, the name changed and eventually, the area became known as Fox Lake. It’s thought that the name came from the shape of the lake, which vaguely resembled a fox.

Another story of how the area got its name was from the story of a trapper who was hunting in the area. When the trapper became lost, it looked like he would not survive out in the wilderness. Luckily, he was found by a member of the Winnebago Indian tribe named Big Fox. This is another reason that the area became known as Fox Lake.

Tourism and Things to Do

While Fox Lake isn’t a large town, it is the stopping point for a few travelers. It was also the site of Wisconsin’s largest archeological discovery in 1983. Fox Lake’s history museum still has the specimens that were discovered during the dig, as well as other pieces of local history. The history museum is located inside the Fox Lake Railroad Depot. The Depot was listed on the National Registrar of Historical Places and is a big draw for tourists. 


The town has always had a small population. Beginning in 1870, when the earliest records date back to, there were 1,178 citizens. Seeing as that there are only 400 more than this today, it’s clear that the town is not growing very much or very fast. 

The town does have access to public schooling and is a part of the Waupun School District. There is only one school in Fox Lake, and it’s called the School for Agricultural and Environmental Studies, otherwise known as SAGES.

It’s a pre-k through sixth-grade charter school, and it focuses on hands-on learning experiences. There is also one private school located in Fox Lake. It’s called St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School and is a part of the local church. 

Summertime view of the shore along the fox river near oshkosh in wisconsin
The large lake is the site on which the town was built around.


Where is Fox Lake Located on a Map?

The biggest draw to the area is the 2,713-acre Fox Lake which is the basis for the town’s tourism industry. There are two boat ramps on the lake and two public parks that are located around the lake. The lake has six islands and it’s known as one of the best fishing sites in Wisconsin.

There is a vast range of fish that live in the lake, including Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskies, Perch, Large Crappie, and Bluegill. It’s fished during both the summer and winter when it is primarily the site for ice fishing. 

Here is Fox Lake, Wisconsin on a map:

In the summer, the area is bustling with tourists and locals who enjoy a few of the local events. Each July the Fox Lake Firefighters 19th Annual Car Show and Swap Meet takes place. Residents and visitors are welcome to bring any type of vehicle, with the city noting that they have a class for anything that you can possibly bring, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and anything that you can get through the gate. 

There is another annual event called the Friends of the Lake Outing which invites special needs adults and chaperones to a pontoon boat tour of Fox Lake. After a few hours of touring the lake by boat, the group will return to the shore for a cookout. This event is over 25 years in the making and is made possible by many volunteers and attendees. 

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About the Author

Hi there! I'm Jaydee, and I love all things animals! I run a pet sitting business in my hometown, and have sat pets for over 5 years now. I also have experience teaching about animals as an elementary librarian. My husband and I have a golden retriever named Butter, and a tabby cat named Beans.

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