January 19, 2023

Enhanced Risk For Severe Storms Across Ohio Today, Because Of Course, It's January 19th


There's an enhanced risk for severe weather across much of Ohio today.

Of course.

Because that's just what you'd expect for the middle of January.

A low-pressure system moving across the Great Lakes region is responsible for all sorts of foul weather across the central U.S. this week. The system plastered a solid swath of snow from Denver to Duluth over the past couple of days.

Now that most of the wintry weather is north of the border in Ontario, we're left to deal with the volatile southern end of the storm today.

The core of the low will spend Thursday scooting across the Midwest in a hurry. Southerly winds feeding into the center of the low will drag warm, humid air from the south. The system's cold front will crash into this modestly unstable air, made a little more unstable by the amount of cold air aloft.


This setup will lead to a fast-moving line of severe thunderstorms developing along that cold front during the latter half of the afternoon. We'll see the squall line develop in central Indiana not long after noon, racing east into Ohio through the mid- to late-afternoon hours.

You can see a simulated radar image from the HRRR weather model at the top of this post, covering the 5:00 p.m. timeframe. 

A risk for severe weather covers about all of Ohio on Thursday afternoon, radiating out to include eastern Indiana, western Pennsylvania, and far northern Kentucky. Within that area is a bullseye of sorts, an enhanced risk—a three out of five on the categorical scale measuring the risk for severe storms—that includes Dayton and Columbus.

Damaging wind gusts are far and away what concerns the Storm Prediction Center the most with Thursday's storms. The enhanced risk is in effect for the potential for significant wind gusts of 75+ mph, which are plenty strong enough to knock down trees and power lines across the affected areas.


There's also a small—but not zero—risk for tornadoes in and around the enhanced risk. This kind of setup carries the risk of "kinks" developing along the leading edge of the squall line, which could spin up short-lived but fast-moving tornadoes.

Honestly, the most dangerous part of today's severe weather risk is the fact that it's January 19th.

Severe storms are more common in Alabama and Louisiana this time of year. Not so much in Ohio! Many folks across the affected areas won't be tuned-in to severe thunderstorm watches and warnings as these fast-moving storms approach.

If you live in the area, please let your family, friends, and neighbors know that there's a risk for rockin' storms today. If you know anyone in the area, drop a note on Facebook or Twitter or Mastodon or wherever that these storms are coming this afternoon.

Severe weather is dangerous any day, but it's even worse in the winter when most folks aren't on the lookout for watches and warnings.

The risk for severe weather will quickly diminish after sunset, and no more severe thunderstorms are in the forecast for the remainder of the week.

As it should be.

In January.

[Top Image: WSV3]


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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.

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