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Severe Weather Season Starting Very Slow Locally

Written: 1:40 AM 4/23/2021
Written by: Nick Dunn, ONW

It is a bit unusual that we have yet to see a single tornado warning issued across our region for 2021. If we flash back to recent years, we had several severe weather days across our region fairly early in Spring (2020 featured several dozen severe reports in January, march, and April).

Why has it been so “quiet?” Well, our weather pattern just has not favored severe weather in our region. The jet stream is responsible for our slow start this year. Typically, for active weather we would need to see the jet stream placed more across the Great Lakes, bringing warmer air into the region. That has not been the case thus far, and a great example can be seen below on the GFS 500mb Height Anomaly.

The blue colors indicate heights are lower than they should be for this time of year, which is an indicator of colder than average temperatures. This in turn is keeping stable air overhead, lowering our chances of thunderstorms. This will do a complete flip next week.

Above is the projected Height Anomaly for Tuesday morning. See those oranges? This is an indicator that temperatures will be warmer. There will be a more active pattern during the middle portion of next week, which could bring showers and thunderstorms. However, this pattern may not hold for long based on longer-range runs of the GFS.

For Ohio, we have a total of only 8 severe weather reports so far for 2021. For comparison, we saw 690 reports of severe weather for 2020 across the Buckeye State. There is another piece to this blog that we don’t want you to forget about. Just because severe storms have been off to a slow start does not mean you should get complacent and think we won’t see severe weather! Always be ready!

I did some digging, and it is very unusual dating back to 2015 to see monthly reports this low for the first four months of any year. We are likely to finish April below average with severe weather.

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