Severe Weather Expected Throughout The Spring
While many people are focused on COVID-19, Thursday night's storms are a reminder that spring in Ohio can mean severe weather.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington is predicting a warm, wet spring.
"The official three-month outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls for higher than average chances of a warm, wet spring in the Ohio Valley," says NOAA Science and Operations Officer Seth Binau. "That certainly fits the persistent pattern we've seen for much of the past three or four months."
That means the threat of tornadoes and flooding.
"One thing that has been a nearly semi-permanent feature on the weather maps the past few months is an atypically strong and subtropical high pressure system over the southeast United States," says Binau.
"Southwesterly flow around this feature keeps guiding inbound weather systems from the western United States into the Ohio Valley, laden with plenty of warm air and moisture. Until this feature breaks down, or perhaps strengthens further and pushes these systems further north, our warm/wet weather is apt to continue. If it continues, severe weather occurrences will likely be frequent as low pressure systems ride from the Central Plains right into and through the Ohio Valley."
Director of Hamilton County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Nick Crossley says first responders are ready if needed. There are also mutual aid agreements in place with neighboring communities, states and agencies.
"If for some reason 'the big one' comes, it's similar to what they're doing in Nashville," he explains. "In Tennessee they're dealing with the aftermath of a tornado as well as the coronavirus. We have a statewide as well as a national system to ask for resources.
"It will be stretched. I think the coronavirus adds a unique dynamic that we have never had before but I anticipate all of our neighbors doing what they can to help any affected community."
People are advised to have weather radios or weather alert apps at the ready. You should also have a severe weather plan and extra supplies on hand. You can find tools to make a plan or prepare here.
Weather alert sirens are meant to be heard by people who are outside, directing them to seek shelter. Those indoors should have weather-alert apps on phones, check local weather media, or have an emergency weather radio.
When sirens are activated for a Tornado Warning, they will sound for three minutes followed by seven minutes of quiet. This cycle will continue until the Tornado Warning has expired or is canceled by the National Weather Service.
Here is the activation criteria from Hamilton County EMHSA:
- The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Tornado Warning for Hamilton County.
- A tornado is reported by a local public safety official (police/firefighter) to the NWS or to Hamilton County EMHSA.
- A dangerous situation occurs which requires the public to seek shelter indoors immediately.
"Hamilton County has the capability of activating all of the sirens at once or by activating one or more of six siren zones. All sirens are sounded unless the threat is clearly confined to an individual zone (or zones)."
There is no "all-clear" siren.