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A tornado damaged a business in Dane County Thursday afternoon as a line of thunderstorms moved through southern Wisconsin.

The tornado touched down near a business park in Deerfield about 20 miles east of Madison and ripped the roof off International Machine Exchange. The business's building sustained extensive damage, according to the Dane County Sheriff's Department.

Three employees were inside the building and escaped unharmed.

The sheriff's department was notified of a possible tornado at 3:52 p.m. and as deputies and firefighters from several departments arrived they noticed the smell of natural gas from inside the building. That prompted evacuations of nearby businesses and a daycare.

Alliant Energy workers and first responders shut off the gas line to the main building of International Machine Exchange in the 200 block of North Main Street. For more than an hour a road next to the business was shut down as authorities handled the gas leak and evacuations.

National Weather Service meteorologists will evaluate the damage to determine the intensity of the tornado. Initial damage estimates were still be calculated Thursday evening, according to the sheriff's department.

Clusters of strong to severe thunderstorms moved through southern Wisconsin Thursday afternoon which spawned frequent cloud-to-ground lightning, according to the National Weather Service. 

Pleasant weather is forecast for Friday through Tuesday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low- to mid-80s across southern Wisconsin. 

RELATED: Get ready for a great light show: Perseid meteor shower this weekend is expected to dazzle

 

 

 

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