With springtime just on the horizon, Morrow County Emergency Management Director Joseph A. Edwards passes along the severe weather terms used by the National Weather Service to alert you when bad weather threatens.
The peak tornado season runs from April through mid-July with most tornadoes occurring between 2 pm and 10 pm. June has been historically the most active month for tornadoes.
However, many of Ohio’s most devastating tornado outbreaks have occurred in April and May. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms have occurred in all months.
The term WATCH, when used with tornado or severe thunderstorm, means that tornadoes or severe thunderstorms are possible. watches usually are in effect for several hours and indicate that atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe storms to develop. When a watch is in effect, you should keep your eye to the sky and make plans for what you need to do if severe weather occurs.
The term WARNING means that either a severe thunderstorm or tornado is eminent or is already occurring. warnings are usually in effect for 1 hour or less. If a warning is issued for your area, take action immediately.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM is any thunderstorm that produces winds of 58 mph or more and/or hail of 1 inch in diameter or more.
A TORNADO is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the ground. The funnel usually descends from the base of a severe thunderstorm. They are usually wedge shaped with the narrowest end at the ground. Tornado witnesses have heard a “roaring” sound similar to a freight train.
A FUNNEL CLOUD is a violently rotating column of air that descends from the rain free base of a thunderstorm, but it does not make contact with the ground. A tornado usually passes through the funnel cloud stage during its development and dissipation. Not all funnel clouds become tornadoes, but you should still take cover if one approaches.