Northeast Ohio tornado season is coming, but will it be impacted by milder winter?

After deadly tornado hit Tennessee, it is time to prepare for tornado season in Northeast Ohio.
Updated: Mar. 3, 2020 at 1:22 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Overnight, Tennessee was rocked by multiple tornadoes with the death toll standing at 22 at the time of this report.

A powerful front moved through the Nashville area as people were sleeping and caught many off guard.

“The reason this tornado was so destructive was because it was nocturnal and moved through a big city,” 19 First Alert Meteorologist Kelly Dobeck said. “A strong cold front was pushing through the area and that was the main forcing behind the powerful tornado.”

Ohio’s tornado season is defined as April through June.

Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio is March 22-28, with a statewide tornado drill set for 9:50 a.m. on March 25.

According to the state of Ohio, 2019 had more tornadoes than in recent years, at 49.

The state of Ohio tracks the number of tornadoes to impact the state. 2019 saw 49, after a...
The state of Ohio tracks the number of tornadoes to impact the state. 2019 saw 49, after a quieter 2018 at just 18.(Source: Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness)

The mild winter allover the country may influence early spring storms in Northeast Ohio, which could mean an earlier tornado season.

“It’s not out of the question. Last year we had tornadoes in January,” Dobeck said. “It’s not directly related to the mild winter, though. However, with the current pattern we’re seeing with storm systems moving in from the south bringing in more mild air, if we have the “ingredients” around when the storms move through they could be strong.”

Tornadoes typically develop around cold fronts that collide with warmer air making up two of the main ingredients.

What hit in Nashville was, unfortunately, not all that rare.

“For the southeast, tornadoes aren’t out of the question anytime of the year,” Dobeck said. “Typically, spring months equal more tornadoes because of the higher contrast of warm/cold air interacting.”

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