Central Ohio

A Dead Period

By: Buckey2745, 9:29 PM GMT on July 29, 2014

Quoting 1. TheHermit43130:

My recollection may be incorrect, but it seems like there hasn't been a "notable" summer storm since June 2012, and no notable winter storms since February 2010. At least that's how it seems to be in my little part of central Ohio.

While I do concede there have been some notable temperature abnormalities, and Hurricane Sandy was interesting, though it didn't affect us very much, and we have gotten some snow (accumulated 1/4" at a time), there really hasn't been any big storm to blow through here in quite some time. In fact, I'd rank 2013 as the most boring weather year in my memory. 2014 isn't too far behind, except for some extreme cold in the winter and extreme mild (heh) this summer.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course, as I've certainly had my fill of downed trees and power outages from the preceding years, but to someone who thinks weather events are interesting, it's been pretty dull as of late.


This is a comment that TheHermit43130 left on yesterday's post. And it's a really good one, because it got me thinking. When was the last major weather event here in Central Ohio?

Well, for winter I would have to agree... February 2010 was the last time winter was actually interesting. At my house I recorded and incredible 22" for the month. It seemed like one storm after another, all 6+". Now I have moved around quite a bit in the past few years, between Pickaway County and now right on the Franklin/Fairfield County line, but for me I haven't measured an event more than 5.5" of snow since that February 2010 season.

Some would say that means we're in for a big one this season. We're due, right? Well what if this cold pattern continues? Logic tells me if we have a bitterly cold winter that we're not getting those warm systems coming out of the Gulf states that gives us our huge snowfall totals. So without getting in to long range outlooks, my gut tells me we could see more of the same this winter, too.

And how about some severe weather? We've had our fair share of tornado scares around here. Last year and this year both my part of Franklin County has had a Tornado Warning, and other parts in adjacent counties have seen the same. But we haven't actually seen anything truly epic around here in quite some time. It's felt like a dry spell for quite a while, so I went on the TornadoHistoryProject.com to check out tornadoes around the area, and I wasn't all that surprised to find out that things have been quiet here recently:

Take a look at the tornadoes around Central Ohio for 2012-2013.


You'll notice first a complete void of strong tornadoes around the area for the entire two year period. Here in Franklin County we saw one tornado touchdown during that time frame... a weak, brief touchdown in a trailer park on the south side. And absolutely nothing in surrounding counties. Cincinnati was the most active area with a handful of EF0's.

How about a little further back? Let's take a look at the 2010-2011 time frame.


A huge difference. How much? More than 3 times the number of tornadoes in Central Ohio for the 2 year period. Not only more, but stronger also. We don't see huge tornadoes here in Ohio, but the fact that we have three EF2's on this map and only one EF1 on the previous map, tells me there was definitely a different dynamic at play over that period of time.

Just at first glance I count 5 tornadoes on this map in Franklin County, along with another 12 tornadoes in surrounding counties.

In conclusion... yes. It has been dead recently. No winter storms. No summer storms. Just the same boring patterns over and over again. This is the reason I love weather... for the big ones. For the once in a generation kind of storms. For the kind of weather events that have you staying up late at night waiting for the Euro models to come out so you can begin your forecast at 2am for the upcoming day. Lately it's been a lot of misses. A lot of let downs. Storms that didn't develop or just didn't develop over us.

Here's to hoping the next two years aren't nearly as boring as the last two.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 4
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 2
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 5
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

Updated: 9:36 PM GMT on July 29, 2014

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And Now The Cool Down

By: Buckey2745, 6:03 PM GMT on July 28, 2014

Yesterday's storms have come and gone, with Columbus being spared any Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Warnings. Overall Central Ohio faired pretty well, with only a couple areas being investigated today by the NWS for potential tornado damage in Highland and Champaign Counties.

Actually just as I typed that the Champaign County storm has been confirmed to be an EF0. Touchdown was very brief, only 100 yards, and no injuries reported luckily.

Now we're on the backside of yesterday's cold front and you can notice a huge difference. Low humidity, low temps, and backdoor cloud cover rotating around the main low pressure that reminds me of a late fall or early winter kind of pattern. Usually if cold fronts make it this far in July or August, we get clearing behind it and only a very brief cool down. But this will be different.

We may not see the 80's for a week.

Right now the only day in the extended forecast that looks like it might reach 80 would be Friday. If that doesn't happen, we could be below 80 until next Monday. An entire week. Looking at the temperature anomaly map, we're 10-15° below normal for the entire week:


It's 2pm and we are at 69.4° in Canal Winchester. I think we'll make it above 70, but maybe just barely if this drizzle and cloudiness persists. Overall for the next two weeks we'll average below normal, only with a possible August rebound to save our summer. Guess we'll have to wait and see on this one...

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 4
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 2
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 5
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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July 27th Severe Threat

By: Buckey2745, 5:31 PM GMT on July 27, 2014

This afternoon's severe threat has been ramped down from a Moderate Risk over eastern Kentucky, just to Slight Risk for the entire region. It seems likely that a Watch will be issued for our area soon, as the SPC has placed a mesoscale discussion:


I actually think we may see our second Tornado Watch of the season, due to the fact any singular cells that develop will be in an environment favorable for rotation.

Right now we are between two thunderstorm complexes, one in Kentucky and one in northern Ohio. That has left a void over southern Ohio where some clearing has taken place and allowed heating and instability. I believe with the approaching cold front we should see rapid storm development in the void:


Just as I wrote that I saw that the NWS is launching a special 2pm weather balloon to check the instability and wind profiles in that very area I just mentioned. I feel pretty confident that we should probably see a Watch for our area, and it'll most likely be a Tornado Watch. What will be interesting to see now is how this break in the clouds helps storms develop this afternoon. I think we should see development over our area in the next two hours.

Eastern Ohio is going to have a better chance of seeing mature supercells, but the Columbus area will not be left out in this scenario.

Here are my probabilities for this afternoon/evening:

Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch: 90%
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: 80%
Tornado Warning: 15%

I didn't go back and look but I feel like that might be the highest probability I have ever put for a Tornado Warning this season. Keep in mind, I'm not saying there is a 15% chance a tornado touches down, I just think a warning may be issued in the Franklin County area due to storms rapidly developing in to rotating supercells.

I'll update this afternoon if things get interesting...

UPDATE: 1:45pm
That didn't take long. As expected the Tornado Watch has been issued for our area. This watch covers almost all of Ohio and lasts until 9pm:


I think it's just a matter of time before we start seeing supecells closer to home.


UPDATE: 3:35pm
We have our first Tornado Warning for our local area today as a storm with a confirmed funnel cloud is east of Urbana right now. If this storm continues with its gradual southeast turn, it could be in the Columbus area within the next hour. We may be hearing tornado sirens, even here in Canal Winchester:


People in Dublin, Upper Arlington, Worthington and Westerville should be keeping a very close eye on this storm.


UPDATE: 7:15pm
It really appears that the atmosphere is completely shot ahead of this cold front. A line of storms is racing toward the Columbus area, but none have a warning or look threatening:


Temps have dropped to the upper 60's with dewpoints not far behind all because of the afternoon storm that hit Columbus and killed any charge left.

The shear is definitely still there. This afternoon I could see it first hand with the shifting of cloud direction with height. But I just don't think these storms will blossom as the move in. I imagine the Tornado Watch will be cancelled early after this line passes.

Updated: 11:23 PM GMT on July 27, 2014

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Moderate Risk for Ohio Valley

By: Buckey2745, 12:58 PM GMT on July 26, 2014

As I sort of eluded to in yesterday's post, a Moderate Risk has been issued for areas to our west today. The SPC has an area stretching roughly from Cincinnati to the southeastern corner of Iowa:


This area isn't too far off from the area I highlighted yesterday that I said would be the area of most significant severe weather.

This Moderate Risk has been issued due to the high confidence that one or more MCS's may develop in this area late this afternoon in to this evening.

As for the Columbus area, it appears that today may not be the main event for us. We're expected to stay pretty warm and relatively dry, save for a few pop up late day thunderstorms. All models suggest the worst stays south of us today.

A Moderate Risk has been issued tomorrow also, but this is a fluent situation. While the area is pegged to southeastern Ohio right now, I feel like this could change dependent on where developing MCS's today either work over the atmosphere or cause outflow boundaries to setup for tomorrow's storms.

This should be a very interesting 48 hours.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 3
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 4
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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Weekend Severe Threat

By: Buckey2745, 6:24 PM GMT on July 25, 2014

This morning's low temp didn't quite get as low as expected. I was thinking maybe 51° here in Canal Winchester. We got to a crisp 52.8° at 6:17am, which was enough for my daughter to exclaim, "I don't know if we can go swimming at daycare today!"

Well our high has hit 76° so far today with clouds streaming in, so maybe no pool today after all.

Tomorrow on the other hand looks like a much better day for a swim. Looking at the forecast yesterday you would have thought Saturday may be a rough day for outdoor activities. But right now I'd have to say it looks like the better day of the weekend.

Currently we are pegged in the Slight Risk area by the SPC for both days of the weekend, but I feel like the better chances will be west of us tomorrow, and more south on Sunday:

Areas I think will have the most significant severe threat over the weekend.

I think we'll see three distinct waves of storms:
Saturday morning in southern Ohio
Saturday afternoon/evening scattered through Central Ohio
Sunday afternoon central and southern

I think all of these times will be primed for significant severe weather, but Sunday will probably be our best bet here in the Columbus area. Most of Saturday the highest shear and CAPE will be west of here in Illinois and Indiana, where I actually think we may see the SPC place a Moderate Risk for tomorrow. It'll be as the boundary moves further south that we may see our big storms on Sunday.

Either way I think this whole weekend spotters should be on alert for developing storms. This could be a pretty active next couple days.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 3
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 4
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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Another Cool Down, Severe On The Way

By: Buckey2745, 8:33 PM GMT on July 24, 2014

This morning in Canal Winchester we woke up to a refreshing 57.5° as our low. That's about 6° below our normal low, and quite a difference from your normal summer heat. Look at it this way, our lowest minimum temp so far for meteorological summer (June - August) was one week ago today when we hit a chilly 50.6°. It was enough to make me roll the windows up on my way to work that morning. So far our record high minimum temp has been hit twice, once in June and once in July, at 70.1°. So the mean is roughly 60°, right?

Tonight's record low in Columbus is 52°. I think the airport stays in the mid 50's since it always runs warmer, but here in Canal Winchester, just on the southeastern edge of Franklin County, I think we have a chance at the record. The latest NAM is actually calling for sub 50!


Once you get away from the heat island of the city, we could see record temps in outlying areas. I don't think we quite go all the way down to the 49° shown here, but I do think we get right around the record... probably just below at 51°. Skies are forecasted to clear after dark and that's when the bottom will drop out.

It's not very often you get to talk about record lows in July, but we're seeing it.

Stormy Weekend
It's not very common to see such a big area of Slight Risk highlighted in the SPC's Day 3 outlook, but Ohio is in the crosshairs of a potent weekend storm system.


It's another clash of a much cooler airmass coming in, meeting what will be a warmed up atmosphere by Saturday afternoon. This will usher in some of our coolest weather of the summer with some places struggling to hit 70 by early next week.

It's a little early for me to start forecasting this system, as I've gotten burned in the past, but early signs point to Saturday evening in to Sunday being pretty favorable for all forms of severe weather.

I'll post again tomorrow with an in depth look at the severe chances.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 3
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 4
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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Abnormally Cool July Continues

By: Buckey2745, 7:27 PM GMT on July 21, 2014

Isn't it funny how "good" weather doesn't get nearly as much press as weather that is a little above normal? I'm talking about our substantially below normal temps here in the Columbus area this month. Yesterday broke a streak I had going here at my house of 5 consecutive days below 80°. It just barely hit 80.1° late yesterday afternoon for a very brief time. These temps are about 15° below average for the most part. But if we hit 90 this summer it's been big bold headlines in the paper of extreme heat and a "heatwave" is upon us. In reality 90° is just a tad above normal.

So far this season I've only seen 4 days of 90° or greater from my weather station. I know Port Columbus has seen a few more, but I also always question their accuracy. Overall only the first day of July was 90° or above. 8 days this month have been below 80°. Shouldn't that be the bigger news story? Our mean temp for the month is almost 3° below last July's mean.

This summer has been unable to sustain any long term heat. Just about every "hot" day we've had this season has been coupled with pop up thunderstorms, which cool things down again. With this humid airmass, paired with cold fronts like last week that bring us back to the 70's, it'll be impossible for us to have a true heat wave this year. In fact there's a chance we go without any Heat Advisories for Franklin County at all, which I can't remember ever happening.

Tomorrow is just about our only chance in the next 7 days I can see us actually hitting 90°. After that? Another Canadian cold front bringing our temps back down for several more days. The below NAM shows late Wednesday in to early Thursday another surge of cooler air. This could give us several days where we struggle to get out of the 70's, and upper 50's again at night. This map is the 850mb temps:


I bet we hear about below normal temps here in about 6 months if we're 10-15° below normal, won't we?

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 3
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 6
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 4
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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Lots of Rain, Storms Possible

By: Buckey2745, 5:50 PM GMT on July 14, 2014

The first fourteen days of July have been wetter than all but two months of the entire year. So far here in Canal Winchester I've recorded 4.06" of rain, counting this morning's absolute downpour. July is typically one of our hottest and driest months, but high humidity and copious amounts of rain have proven the climatology wrong.

Yesterday's Severe Thunderstorm Watch and subsequent Warning was a little ill advised for the Columbus area. Today's a new day and I think we may have a chance of getting another Watch, but I tend to believe we won't actually see any major impacts from approaching storms.

We're currently sandwiched between two watches as this morning's activity has moved east and regenerated, while the cold front to our west is firing storms along its boundary:


I see these storms congealing over time and eventually making it in to Central Ohio well after dark tonight, but I really feel like the severe aspect may begin to lose its steam by the time it crosses the Ohio border. With all of the rain we've had lately I believe that leaves us with a flooding threat. Our ground is completely saturated so it shouldn't take much rain to put us over the top. '

Here's my probabilities for storms:

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: 70%
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: 15%

After tonight that's when things will change big. For the next several days we won't even make it out of the 70's for highs. A deep trough will control our weather and leave July feeling much more like late September. If this were winter we'd be in for some single digit temps. Instead we're looking at what I consider to be beautiful weather. Just not pool weather, that's for sure.

UPDATE 8:00pm:
We're under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch because of a line of storms that has made its way from Illinois in to Ohio. This line hasn't had a warning for quite a while, but there's reports of a gust front out ahead of the line with up to 50mph winds.

The gust front shows up well on radar:


It still seems unlikely that the storm will be severe by the time it reaches the Columbus area, but the NWS has a habit of hoisting phantom warnings for metropolitan areas "just in case."

Updated: 12:10 AM GMT on July 15, 2014

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Heat is On, Severe Unlikely Now

By: Buckey2745, 6:43 PM GMT on July 01, 2014

Last night's derecho, or more like a long lived MCS, did eventually make it to our area around 5:30am. Those storms had all but died off, but because it made it so far east so early, that ruined my forecast from yesterday that predicted the remnants would act as an area of forcing for storms this afternoon.

Instead we are just looking at plain old hot and humid conditions going in to the afternoon. I think it'll be close to see if we have our hottest day of the year as most of the morning was cloudy from the leftovers of the second MCS that moved out of Iowa last night. Our max today has been a temp of 88.3°, but on top of that we have reached an unbearable dewpoint of 76.7° also. That's gotten us awful close to a heat index of 100° although we haven't quite made it yet.

The Slight Risk area has been moved to eastern Ohio for the afternoon, and I think any small pop ups we see might actually struggle to blossom in our capped environment.

What we should look toward is the possibility of a complex of showers and storms that are currently developing over southern Missouri to eventually make it our way by the overnight hours:


Yet another dud of a day it seems like.

On another note, images from my previous posts may be unavailable for a while. Microsoft has taken over the company that runs my dynamic dns service and has made my server unreachable for now. We'll see how long that lasts. Thanks Microsoft!

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 2
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 5
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 1
Flood Watches: 4
Flood Warnings: 3
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0

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About Buckey2745

I'm a 30 year old weather enthusiast from Central Ohio. Certified SKYWARN storm spotter.

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Personal Weather Stations

Lehman Estates
Canal Winchester, OH
Elevation: 754 ft
Temperature: 50.8 °F
Dew Point: 34.8 °F
Humidity: 54%
Wind: 11.0 mph from the SW
Wind Gust: 11.0 mph
Updated: 9:34 AM EDT on March 31, 2015

About Personal Weather Stations