Central Ohio

LiveBlog: May 22nd Severe Weather for Ohio

By: Buckey2745, 1:48 PM GMT on May 22, 2013

We're looking at our second straight day in a slight risk for severe weather here in Central Ohio, but today seems like a much more widespread chance than yesterday.

First the SPC's severe outlook:

The change from the earlier outlooks is that the threat extends further east, which is a product of the location of the greatest forcing this afternoon.

For us this afternoon I expect the most potent storms to be in the southeast portion of Ohio, leaving Columbus right on the dividing line.

The SPC's mesoscale analysis for early this afternoon shows instability (red lines of CAPE) and shear (blue lines in kts) beginning to ramp up and leaving Columbus right on the edge of both.

This has the potential to be dangerous for us, as we will have just enough instability to allow storms to pop, and just enough shear for them to spin. Points eastward will have more of a chance for bigger storms to fire, but they will be limited to a high wind threat and hail.

I plan on updating after initiation this afternoon, but here are my probabilities for today:

Tornado Warning Chance: 5%
Severe Thunderstorm Warning Chance: 60%

These are the highest chances I've posted all year, so keep alert.

UPDATE: 4:41pm
Severe storms seem pretty unlikely now, at least in the supercell variety. A Thunderstorm Watch has been posted out to our east, but considerable cloudiness has overtaken Central Ohio and really limited our instability. In fact the SPC has taken the southwestern portion of Ohio out of Slight Risk.

A couple of severe cells aren't completely out of the question, but today can probably be labeled a bust.

May 21st: Ohio's Chance of Severe Storms

By: Buckey2745, 1:54 PM GMT on May 21, 2013

Yesterday a tornado that many believe will be rated an EF5 by the National Weather Service tore through Moore, OK. In a scene that not many have seen since Greensburg or Joplin, a populated area was leveled. And not just heavily damaged, we're talking complete devistation.

In the past we have seen the images of houses ruined from these massive twisters, but I don't believe I've ever seen an image like the one below, where entire blocks aren't just damaged, they're leveled. Nothing standing higher than a stripped tree:

For those affected by the Moore tornado, nothing will ever be the same. For the parents of the children trapped inside of the elementary school, they will never be able to hear another tornado siren again without thinking of that horrific May afternoon. And God forbid the parents of the children who didn't make it... they may never recover. I know I wouldn't.

As meteorologists, storm spotters, weather co-op observers, and weather enthusiasts we watch the weather. We report it. We live for it. I'm sure that all of us have seen our fair share of storm damage. But none of us ever want to see what we're seeing in Moore. Children. Families. Pets. Entire lives. All gone.

It's my hope that we never see something like this again.

Ohio's Severe Threat
It seems hard to transition from what's happened in Oklahoma to today's severe risk here in Ohio, considering how insignificant it seems. However, the threat is there, and no matter how minor we have to keep an eye on it.

The SPC has the slight risk pegged off to our northwest, however I believe by the time the noon update rolls around we should see that expended to include most of Ohio. The reason being two main factors:

If we see enough sun this afternoon, which we should, CAPE could be upwards of 3000 J/kg. High dewpoints and temps in the mid 80's will be perfect fuel.

Washed out boundry
A line of showers pushing in from Indiana may be the area of focus for redevelopment this afternoon, especially areas east of I-75 where no stabilization has occured today. Instability will be more favorable in the east and this area could flare right back up.

Our limiting factor for supercells would be the low shear. At only about 30kts we're in the low to moderate shear range, but the high instability could overrun that negating factor. For sure when storms do pop this afternoon they should be able to tower, it'll just be a matter of whether they can become severe.

Tornado Warning Chance: 0%
Thunderstorm Warning Chance: 10%

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

A Beautiful Thunderhead

By: Buckey2745, 11:54 PM GMT on May 18, 2013

While this weekend has been projected to be a relatively quiet weekend in terms of truly severe weather, I did spot an absolutely beautiful Thunderhead developing just southeast of Canal Winchester, OH. Perfect structure, classic anvil top beginning to develop. Just a picturesque scene on a spring evening.

Here's to hoping this produces some lightning to photograph after dark!

TornadoQuest: Unsettled Weekend, Severe Unlikely

By: Buckey2745, 10:43 PM GMT on May 16, 2013

A stalled frontal boundary parked near the I-70 corridor this weekend will be the focus for afternoon convection on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately for the TornadoQuest, none of these storms are expected to be tornadic.

What we should expect is what we saw this afternoon... storms fire south of the boundary and move east to eventually southeast:

Most of these storms will probably stay south of the Columbus area, with our impact mainly being pop up showers.

Why No Tornadoes?
Simple. There is very little wind shear. Any storms that do appear will have no rotation and will be limited to potentially small hail.

This may be a decent weekend for any lightning photography, however, which I'm considering taking up again. As displayed by last night's thunderstorms, lightning could be prominent.

Chase Chance: 1%

We would have to have an absolutely unexpected rouge storm fire up and get close enough to the northern edge of our area, where shear is best, to possibly drop a tornado. I plan on keeping an eye on things this weekend, but I seriously doubt I end up venturing out. There just isn't anything promising.

Looking Ahead
It's way too far out to say for sure, but the tornado outbreak that is forecasted for the plains Saturday through Monday may hold up enough as it heads this way. All models I've seen however takes the low pressure north in to Canada, which would take away moisture and forcing.

From Rain to Frost

By: Buckey2745, 3:08 PM GMT on May 11, 2013

Yesterday's heavy rain threat never materialized in to a flood event, but we did get our biggest single day rain total of the year here in Canal Winchester with 1.21", crushing the previous high of 0.95" from April.

The rain added to an average year of rain so far, putting us at 11.17", only about 1.64 below average.

The real story will be the cloudy lull today that will lead to a second cold front in 24 hours smashing through our area tonight, bringing yet another round of cold weather. Temps Sunday night could get down near freezing, with frost advisories likely, if not freeze advisories.

The 850mb model forecast shows arctic air diving in behind the front:

This will put a stop to our severe chances for several days as our atmosphere will take a while to recover. Severe weather seems very unlikely for the next 6-7 days. Thursday would be our next chance for precip, but even then it's not looking like a favorable setup... yet.

May 10th: Heavy Rain Threat

By: Buckey2745, 5:28 PM GMT on May 10, 2013

Yesterday it appeared that today's risk could be severe weather. The risk was small, but high winds and small hail could have been a possibility. But now, instability is off to our east, shear is almost non-existant, and WBZ is up around 10k feet. So the focus has been turned to heavy rain.

A large MCS is approaching from the southwest, and should overtake our area by late afternoon:

PWAT values will be approaching 1.4 with this system this afternoon, and the HPC is predicting up to 1.25". As you can see this area is pretty large and will slowly train over our area this afternoon:

So the good/bad news is that severe weather is out of the question today. The ingredients aren't even close to being there, and there's no chance of a watch or warning today. However, I would not rule out some sort of flood advisory this evening.

I'll post later if any watches or warnings show up.

Well, turns out there was just enough instability at the leading edge of the rain to pop a few severe cells, as we got our fourth warning of the season.

Eventually the storms formed a line and are now moving east in to a more favorable environment for storms. We got about 0.10" of rain in a few minutes, and a wind gust of 37mph.

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

A Rainout

By: Buckey2745, 7:42 PM GMT on May 07, 2013

A relatively warm, dry and beautiful stretch of weather has come to an end for us here in Central Ohio, and May showers have set in? I guess I always thought it was April showers. Oh well.

Clouds started poring in to the region Sunday afternoon as the cutoff low over the southeastern US slowly made its way toward the east coast. By yesterday rain actually set in, with 0.15" falling throughout the day... just enough to make things damp. While that may have been the story in the Columbus area, others to our southwest weren't so lucky as over 3" fell near Cincinnati over the past 48 hours:

Luckily the next few days should just be a quiet rain, no storm threat, and no more heavy rain threat. Instead, the chance for showers every day from now through the weekend.

Welcome to gray and rainy Ohio.

Ohio TornadoQuest 2013

By: Buckey2745, 9:47 PM GMT on May 06, 2013

As a weather enthusiast I'm proud to say I've experienced almost every weather phenomenon known to man. Flooding, hail, wind storms, Derechos, close CG lightning (even lighting in a plane), hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, and just about everything in between. However, the one thing that has eluded me is actually seeing a tornado on the ground. Sure, I've seen plenty of funnels, or even a tornado after it had lifted. But so far, no legitimate tornadoes.

I'm hoping that'll change this year.

I've decided to tornado chase if given the chance. My girlfriend has volunteered to come along for the adventure, which will help with the driving and navigation of the trip. However, we do have two limiting factors:

I can only chase on the weekend, which means we're limited to the days we can get out there, and also the area we can cover. To begin with I've decided to limit us to this chase area:

That area could change if we have an idea system a little further west, however I don't plan on waivering north, south or east due to the hills and mountains.

The other limiting factor? Our kids. We have no intentions of taking our girls out obviously, and we only get them 50% of the time, so our time is precious as it is. So on weekends we do not have our kids, we can chase.

Follow along with the blog as I chronicle weekly chase forecasts, outlining the possibility of a tornado threat, and also documenting our outings.

I'm on a quest to finally see a tornado, and it's my hope that 2013 is that year.

Goodbye April

By: Buckey2745, 7:10 PM GMT on May 02, 2013

In like a lion? Well if that phrase references severe weather... no. April was not in like a lion. April was quiet... it was relatively cool... and there wasn't much to talk about.

I guess it's more than we've seen all season, but April still wasn't a very active month for storms. We had a couple of systems move through in the early part of the month that sparked a couple Watches and a couple Warnings, but not of the tornado variety.

Yes. We saw snow in April on the 20th. It was quick dusting that fell in the overnight hours, but it was appropriate considering our winter that never seemed to end. Well in to Spring and we're seeing snow? Welcome to Ohio, I guess. I would think it's safe to say we've seen the last of winter, but then again Kansas City could see measurable snow today, so you never know.

Our season total will hopefully end at 26.65", which is a little more than I predicted.

On a side note it looks like Columbus decided to reconcile their snow totals as they now show 27.5" on the season. That sounds a little more accurate, I'd say.

Our mean temp for the month was 53.3° which was on the low side compared to the past 6 years:

2008: 55.6
2009: 53.9
2010: 58.8
2011: 56.6
2012: 54.1
2013: 53.3

Other Stats:

High Temp: 85.9° (4/18)
Low Temp: 23.9° (4/3)
Highest Wind Gust: 37mph (4/19)
Monthly Rainfall: 3.97"
Rainiest Day: 0.76" (4/24)
80° Days: 3

Looking Ahead:
May is usually the beginning of our severe season, but for at least the next several days May will be the cool and dreary season. A cutoff low over the central US that is producing snow over Iowa and Minnesota will eventually make its way to out south and over to the east coast where it will stall again. At this point it appears we could be looking at an entire week of possible showers.

It won't be until Mothers Day that a strong front will finally sweep across the nation and push this low out to sea. That's when long range models suggest an active pattern setup over the Great Lakes region.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Central Ohio

About Buckey2745

I'm a 31 year old weather enthusiast from Central Ohio. Certified SKYWARN storm spotter.

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