Columbus and Central Ohio Weather

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio (March 20-26) marks the time when everyone should “review their safety plans, update their emergency supply kits,” said Jeffrey Young, director of Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

The 2022 tornado season in Ohio got off to an early start during the predawn hours on Monday, March 7, when weak EF0 tornadoes touched down in Darke and Shelby counties.

Tornadoes touched down in western Ohio between 4:21 and 4:24 a.m. on Monday, March 7, 2022.

For the second year in a row, La Nina — a pattern featuring an expanding area of cooler-than-normal water in the central tropical Pacific — will support a spring storm track from the Southwest to the Great Lakes.

The cyclical climatic pattern pulls ingredients together that promote the development of severe storms and isolated tornadoes in the midsection of the country and across the Southern states by affecting the orientation of the jet stream (storm track).

Predicting the nature of the spring tornado season in the United States is, at best, a general assessment of present conditions and near-future patterns, with data comparing past seasons with similar parameters.

Abnormally dry conditions in the High Plains in recent months are likely to persist, which has a tendency to shunt storms across the Mississippi Valley and Mid-South, areas that are expected to be active in the next few months. A lesser threat of severe storms will extend into the upper Ohio Valley and Northeast if the storm track is farther south.

In the past decade, spring seasons with the highest number of tornadoes in Ohio occurred in an El Nino phase in 2011 and 2019, a warmer-than-normal sea surface temperature pattern in the eastern equatorial Pacific, with an active subtropical jet stream across the Southern states that fuels storm systems cutting northeast across the middle of the country.

Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale rates the intensity of tornadoes.

In an average year, Ohio experiences about 20 tornadoes, most generally on the weaker end (EF0/EF1), with winds between 65 and 110 mph. Occasionally, stronger tornadoes cause considerable damage in parts of the state (EF2/EF3).

Tornado season in Ohio peaks in May and early June, though storms can strike in any month of the year.