Columbus Tornado History




Due to the original post being overwhelmingly the #1 most-visited post on this site, I decided to make it into a regular page for easier access.

**Originally posted 5/8/2013. Updated 6/18/2017.

Now that spring is in full swing, I thought it would be a good time to highlight Columbus’ history with tornadoes. The city has been very lucky over the years and has yet to see a truly significant event. While western and southwestern parts of the state seem to get hit nearly every year, tornadic storms have either tended to miss Columbus or weaken before reaching there.

Before 1950, good records were not kept, but I’ve found at least one example.
On May 2, 1929, a tornado hit parts of Franklinton. The strength of this tornado is unknown, but 2 men were reported killed in a Franklinton jail, pictured below.

515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929

 

515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929

 

515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929

Since 1950, there have been 31 tornados that touched down in the Columbus area, the majority of them small and weak.

EF0 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 15

Most Significant EF0 Events
Widest: 500 yards on July 28, 1961. This tornado touched down near the intersection of Scioto Darby/Alton Darby Creek Roads on the Far West Side. It travelled about 1 mile and caused less than $50,000 in damage.
Longest Track: 1.76 miles on May 11, 2008. This 20 yard wide tornado touched down near I-70 and 142 and lifted at County Highway 12, causing less than $10,000 in damage.

EF0 Tornado Count By Decade
1950s: 1 on 6/26/1954
1960s: 2 on 7/28/1961 and 9/12/1963
1970s: 0
1980s: 1 on 6/13/1981
1990s: 4 on 6/2/1991, 8/27/1992, 7/1/1993 and 7/2/1997
2000s: 3, with 2 on 8/28/2006 and 1 on 5/11/2008
2010s*: 3 on 9/22/2010, 10/26/2010, 4/20/2011 and 6/4/2016.
*Through 7/18/2017.

There have been no injuries or deaths from EF0 tornadoes in Columbus.

EF1 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 9

Most Significant EF1 Events
Widest: 100 yards on 4/20/2011. This tornado touched down at Township Highway 12 and travelled 2.54 miles to Richardson Road, moving west to east.
Longest Track: 15 miles on 6/10/1986. This 73 yard wide tornado travelled from just east of Rt. 38 to just west of Galloway Road moving west to east.

EF1 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 3 on 10/11/1954, 4/28/1958 and 7/5/1959
1960s: 0
1970s: 3 on 7/26/1973, 6/17/1975 and 9/11/1975
1980s: 2 on 8/7/1984 and 6/10/1986
1990s: 0
2000s: 0
2010s*: 1 on 4/20/2011
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

Damage from the 6/17/1975 tornado.

There have been no injuries or deaths from EF1 tornadoes in Columbus.

EF2 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 6

Most Significant EF2 Events
Widest: 440 yards on 4/2/1970. This tornado touched down at the southeast corner of Walnut Street and S. Otterbein Avenue and travelled about 2 miles. It caused less than $500,000 in damage.
Longest Track: 17 Miles on 5/8/1973. This 67 yard wide tornado travelled from just north of W. Bridge Street at N. Fork Indian Run to Greenbriar Road just south of Rt. 36 in Sunbury.

EF2 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 0
1960s: 0
1970s: 4 on 5/8/1973, 5/25/1973, 5/30/1973 and 4/3/1974
1980s: 0
1990s: 0
2000s: 1 on 10/11/2006
2010s*: 0
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

1 injury was caused by an EF2 tornado in Columbus on 5/30/1973. No deaths have been caused.

EF3 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 2

Most Significant EF3 Events
Widest: 300 yards on 5/10/1973. The tract length and location of this tornado are not listed.
Longest Tract: 6 miles on 2/22/1971. This 100 yard wide tornado travelled from E. Broad at Cassingham Road to the corner of Mann Road and Howard Street in Howard Estates.

EF3 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 0
1960s: 0
1970s: 2 on 2/22/1971 and 5/10/1973
1980s: 0
1990s: 0
2000s: 0
2010s*: 0
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

Columbus Tornado of May 10, 1973

7 injuries occurred with the 2/22/1971 tornado. No deaths have occurred from an EF3 in Columbus.

No EF4s or EF5s have occurred in or near Columbus since 1950.

Most Tornadoes in 1 Day: 2 on 8/28/2006.
Most Tornadoes in 1 Month: 4 in May, 1973.
Most Tornadoes in 1 Year: 5 in 1973.

And a related article:
http://www.thelantern.com/campus/major-tornado-in-columbus-is-inevitable-1.2256497#.UYrfpWwo7IU

And see other Ohio severe weather reports here:
1950-1959
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rAbADeNyKlqLT_7qvxUpURKXlHA&usp=sharing
1960-1969
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ZXOBycqe49RiIESSJjAlRiJ7BgM&usp=sharing