Random Columbus Photos #1

Photo Date: January 15, 1936
Location: Parkwood Avenue, East Linden

This random street scene photo was taken during the frigid winter of 1935-36. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where the photo was taken, only that the style of homes indicates that it was taken looking north between Earl and Denune Avenues. Little has changed on Parkwood in the last 79 years. The area still looks and feels a little rural, and there are still no sidewalks. The one change, however, is that the roads are no longer dirt.

The day of the photo was fairly mild, with highs in the mid-40s. The next day, however, a snowstorm struck that dropped about 5″ of snow, and just a week later, temperatures hit 16 degrees below zero.

2014: Year in Review- January

This kind of post seems obligatory at this time of year. I thought about making just one big post, but there was so much that happened this year that I decided to break it up by month. This review won’t include every single piece of news, just the highlights. First up, of course, is January.

Development
-The Columbus Zoo began to push for a permanent levy to help pay for upgrades at its existing facility, as well as for adding a new expansion attraction at the Scioto Peninsula Downtown http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/01/09/zoo-wants-vote-on-bigger-permanent-property-tax.html
-Redevelopment of the Barrett Middle School site in Merion Village began to make news. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2014/01/12/caughtmiddle.html The project should begin sometime this spring, though the exact number of residential units and layout has changed some.
-Columbus adopted Complete Streets. http://www.columbusunderground.com/new-complete-streets-thoroughfare-plan-could-have-big-impact-bw1 This set of standards guides the development of the street layout and design throughout the city. This includes including multi-use and bike paths, as well as better signaling and access for pedestrians.
-A new 40-unit apartment complex was proposed for 122 Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne East. However, very little news has been heard about this project since, as it may be waiting for work on the Parsons section of the 70/71 rebuild to move along first. http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/new-ote-apartment-complex-proposal-parsons-gustavus
-OSU announced plans to renovate several buildings in order to create a sort-of tech campus that partnered with IBM’s new analytics center in Dublin. http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/01/23/osu-in-line-for-53m-from-state.html
-And on the West Side, the huge apartment complex off Georgesville Road once known as Lincoln Park West, was announced to get a major makeover, with the demolition of a few hundred units while the rest would get a high-end renovation. This complex had long been very run down and the site of tragic arson fires, crime and high vacancy. http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/blog/2014/01/204-apartments-at-former-lincoln-park.html

Economy/Other
-Columbus was named one of the nation’s top Opportunity Cities. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/america-s-new-opportunity-cities-222209099.html
-Columbus was named one of the top 7 Intelligent Communities in the world. http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/top7-intelligent-communities-of-2014-aka-were-smart-again
-Columbus was predicted to have one of the nation’s best economic performances of 2014. http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/01/22/cities-face-a-good-but-not-great-economic-outlook-for-2014/ The numbers won’t be out for a few months on how the city/metro actually performed, however.
-A study came out detailing how future growth in Columbus would radically alter where people lived and in what type of home and environment they lived. The consensus? Young and urban. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlovaas/discovering_a_new_housing_futu.html
-The unemployment rate rose to 6% in January from December 2013, as it usually rises after seasonal employees are laid off. However, this was 1.1 percentage points lower than the previous January.

Weather
January 2014 continued what December 2013 had started. Snowfall was nearly 2x above normal and temperatures were almost 7 degrees below normal. The month tied for the 15th coldest January and the 16th snowiest. The coldest low was -11 and the low hit 0 or below 7 times, the most since 1994. The biggest snow event occurred on the 25th-26th with 8.3″. This was the 10th largest January snowstorm of all time. Snow depth reached at least 1″ on 19 days.

How Cold/Snowy Was January Really?

There has been a lot of talk about this winter and how bad it has been, especially in January, where the term “polar vortex” became a household name. Of course, polar vortexes are a fairly common winter term in the meteorological community and they happen every single year somewhere. The only real difference this year has been that it came further south in some areas than normal. Combined with frequent snowfalls, it has given the perception that the winter overall has been unusually severe. But how does the winter so far, and January 2014, stack up historically?

First, let’s look at temperatures since December 1st, the start of meteorological winter.

For December 1st to January 31st, the average temperature has been 28.75 degrees. Normal for this period is 31.55 degrees, so it has been below normal by 2.8 degrees. But is that departure from normal really historically bad? Not really. In fact, it doesn’t even rank in the top 20 coldest. However, the average temperature alone doesn’t really tell the whole story. January, in particular, was very cold overall, with an average of just 22.8 degrees. That DID rank the month in the top 20, at #15 out of more than 135 years of records. It also featured 7 days with low temperatures at or below 0 degrees. Only a handful of other years featured more than that, even though the coldest low of the month (-11) did not come close to the coldest readings on record. So it has been more about repeated bouts of cold rather than record cold.

Next, we’ll look at seasonal snowfall through January 31st. This is where the 2013-2014 winter really begins to take its place in history. After having the snowiest 1st 10 days of December on record, the winter has continued to add to its totals. Through January 31st, Columbus had received 35.1″ of snow, which was already 6.2″ above what would fall for an ENTIRE SEASON, let alone through that date. In fact, the season was more than 20″ above normal by then. The 35.1″ is also the 6th highest total by the 31st of any winter on record, and the 17.7″ that fell during January made it the 16th snowiest, and this was after the 8th snowiest December on record, with 12.7″. Even if not a flake of snow more fell the rest of the winter, it would still end up as the 30th snowiest.

February is looking to keep with the same winter pattern, at least for the next week or two. A winter storm warning is currently in effect for 8-10″ of snow for the Columbus area and continued below normal temperatures. Could the 2013-2014 winter season end up in the record books? Yes, and already has. With the current storm bearing down and potentially more on the horizon, the season will keep moving up.

January Temperature Records 1879-2012

January Cold

Top 20 Coldest January Means
1. 1977: 11.4
2. 1918: 15.9
3. 1940: 17.8
4. 1893: 18.9
5. 1978: 19.0
6. 1912: 19.2
7. 1884: 19.9
8. 1970: 20.6
9. 1982: 21.2
10. 1994: 21.3
11. 1948, 1979: 21.4
12. 1963, 1985: 21.7
13. 1920, 1966: 22.2
14. 2003, 2009: 22.6
15. 1904: 22.8
16. 1885: 22.9
17. 1981, 1984: 23.3
18. 1886: 23.4
19. 1961: 23.5
20. 1968: 23.6

Average January Mean By Decade
2010s*: 28.1
2000s: 29.8
1990s: 30.9
1980s: 26.7
1970s: 24.6
1960s: 27.0
1950s: 31.0
1940s: 29.5
1930s: 33.5
1920s: 28.7
1910s: 29.5
1900s: 30.0
1890s: 28.9
1880s: 28.2
1870s**: 25.6
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 10 Coldest Daily January Highs
1. 1985: -5
2. 1879, 1982: -4
3. 1893: -3
4. 1977: -2
5. 1884, 1970, 1994: -1
6. 1895, 1984: 0
7. 1886, 1940, 1962: 2
8. 1897, 1963: 3
9. 1924, 1936, 2009: 4
10. 1912, 1966: 5

Average Coldest January High By Decade
2010s*: 19.3
2000s: 18.3
1990s: 18.3
1980s: 10.7
1970s: 11.6
1960s: 11.7
1950s: 18.9
1940s: 16.5
1930s: 19.3
1920s: 14.7
1910s: 15.2
1900s: 15.6
1890s: 11.1
1880s: 14.9
1870s**: -4.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 10 Coldest Daily January Lows
1. 1994: -22
2. 1879, 1884: -20
3. 1977, 1985: -19
4. 1936, 1982, 1984: -16
5. 1963: -15
6. 1964: -14
7. 1918, 1948, 1961: -13
8. 1893, 1972: -12
9. 1886, 1940, 1965, 2009: -11
10. 1897: -10

Average Coldest January Low by Decade
2010s*: 3.3
2000s: 2.7
1990s: 3.2
1980s: -2.8
1970s: -3.5
1960s: -6.0
1950s: 2.2
1940s: 1.0
1930s: 6.0
1920s: 1.2
1910s: -0.7
1900s: 0.8
1890s: -1.6
1880s: -0.6
1870s**: -20.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 5 Januarys with Most 32 or Below Highs
1. 1977: 31
2. 1918, 1940: 24
3. 1978, 1985: 22
4. 1893, 1912, 1979, 2011: 21
5. 1966, 1970, 2003: 20

Average January 32 or Below Highs by Decade
2010s*: 15.3
2000s: 11.8
1990s: 8.9
1980s: 12.0
1970s: 16.2
1960s: 13.3
1950s: 9.4
1940s: 10.8
1930s: 6.7
1920s: 11.3
1910s: 10.9
1900s: 10.5
1890s: 11.1
1880s: 11.7
1870s**: 13.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 5 Januarys with Most 32 or Below Lows
1. 1902, 1918, 1920, 1945, 1970, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979: 31
2. 1893, 1905, 1912, 1929, 1948, 1959, 1962, 1981, 2003, 2009, 2011: 30
3. 1881, 1884, 1892, 1915, 1922, 1925, 1940, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1978, 1982, 1987, 1991: 29
4. 1883, 1885, 1895, 1904, 1908, 1954, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1984, 1994, 2000, 2001: 28
5. 1886, 1887, 1888, 1903, 1917, 1923, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1996, 2004, 2010: 27

Average January 32 or Below Lows By Decade
2010s*: 27.3
2000s: 24.6
1990s: 24.5
1980s: 27.5
1970s: 28.3
1960s: 26.1
1950s: 26.6
1940s: 24.9
1930s: 22.5
1920s: 26.5
1910s: 25.6
1900s: 25.3
1890s: 24.1
1880s: 24.8
1870s**: 26.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

January Heat

Top 20 Warmest January Means
1. 1880: 43.9
2. 2006: 40.7
3. 1932: 40.3
4. 1950: 39.9
5. 1933: 38.6
6. 1937: 37.8
7. 1990: 37.7
8. 1998: 37.6
9. 1949: 37.0
10. 1913: 36.9
11. 1906, 1989: 36.6
12. 1916: 36.0
13. 1947: 35.9
14. 2002: 35.6
15. 1939, 1953: 35.3
16. 1952: 35.1
17. 1967: 34.8
18. 1894: 34.7
19. 2007: 34.4
20. 1993: 34.3

Top 10 Warmest January Highs
1. 1950: 74
2. 1906: 72
3. 1932, 1998: 70
4. 2005: 69
5. 1916, 1946, 1967, 1996, 2008: 68
6. 1890, 1907, 1929, 1933, 1952, 1995, 1997: 67
7. 1887, 1898, 1909, 1914, 1937, 2002: 66
8. 1975, 1985, 1998: 65
9. 1897, 1947, 1949: 64
10. 1928, 1938, 1944, 1959, 1960: 63

Average January Warmest High By Decade
2010s*: 56.3
2000s: 59.7
1990s: 61.4
1980s: 55.7
1970s: 55.1
1960s: 57.8
1950s: 60.8
1940s: 57.9
1930s: 61.2
1920s: 56.1
1910s: 56.7
1900s: 60.4
1890s: 58.8
1880s: 55.6
1870s**: 56.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 10 Warmest January Lows
1. 1950: 58
2. 1890, 1967, 1997, 2008: 57
3. 1906, 1907: 56
4. 1998, 2005: 55
5. 1880, 1937, 1946, 1965, 1995: 54
6. 1909, 1916, 1930, 1993: 53
7. 2000, 2002, 2007: 52
8. 1932: 51
9. 1913, 1933, 1935, 1951: 50
10. 1894, 1952, 1988: 49

Average January Warmest Low By Decade
2010s*: 40.0
2000s: 46.3
1990s: 46.1
1980s: 39.1
1970s: 34.6
1960s: 43.6
1950s: 43.3
1940s: 41.2
1930s: 46.2
1920s: 40.0
1910s: 42.2
1900s: 44.3
1890s: 43.6
1880s: 40.9
1870s**: 42.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 5 Januarys with Most 60 or Above Highs
1. 1916, 1950: 7
2. 1890: 6
3. 1932: 5
4. 1880, 1949, 1952, 1967: 4
5. 1897, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1914, 1937, 1939, 1946, 1947, 1951, 1989, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008: 3

Average January Highs 60 or Above By Decade
2010s*: 0.7
2000s: 1.2
1990s: 0.5
1980s: 0.6
1970s: 0.9
1960s: 1.6
1950s: 1.6
1940s: 1.3
1930s: 1.5
1920s: 0.2
1910s: 1.3
1900s: 1.1
1890s: 1.1
1880s: 0.5
1870s**: 0.0
*2010 to 2012
**1879 only

Top 10 Months with the Greatest Temperature Range in Degrees (Monthly Max to Minimum)
1. 1985: 84
2. 1879: 76
3, 1897: 74
4. 1982, 1999: 73
5. 1916, 1964, 1965, 1972, 1994: 72
6. 1887: 71
7. 1904, 2005: 70
8. 1930, 1948, 1959, 2000: 69
9. 1884, 1906, 1907, 1997: 68
10. 1886, 1929: 67

2008- Year of the Wind

January 8th-9th Severe Weather

Record warm temperatures in the upper 60s on the 7th-8th of January, 2008 gave way to storms and even a rare January Tornado Watch on the evening of the 8th. Winds had been gusty all during the day of the 8th, but reached their peak with the frontal passage storms. Rain and thunderstorms began moving into Ohio during the late afternoon and increased in intensity through the evening, prompting the NWS to issue a Tornado Watch just after 10pm. Although no tornadoes were reported anywhere in Ohio on the night of the 8th-9th, the storms brought with them rains of 1-2″ and winds of up to 70mph, causing many reports of minor structural damage and scattered power outages.

January 29th-30th Windstorm

The second, more intense wind event for January in Ohio came during the last few days of the month. A very strong low pressure moved north and west of Ohio as strong high pressure moved south into the Plains. The resulting gradient caused winds to increase. Winds were sustained between 30-35mph most of the 29th. When the front arrived during the evening hours, winds ramped up even more. Winds were sustained at 40-45 with gusts between 60-70mph. There was very little precipitation with this front. Damages were widespread.

On a personal note with this event, I witnessed several power poles bent over and large business signs blown out from the force of the January 29th-30th wind event.

Hurricane Ike and Ohio’s Worst Windstorm

On September 1st, 2008, a tropical depression formed in the central Atlantic Ocean. That same day, the depression strengthened enough to gain a name: Ike. No one in Ohio anticipitated that this storm, far out in the Atlantic, would cause the most widespread, destructive windstorm the state had ever seen.

Ike gradually became a hurricane and roared west and then southwest over Cuba before turning back to the northwest and into the Gulf of Mexico. He churned westward growing in size as he went. The windfield of the hurricane was gigantic. Hundreds of miles from the center, tropical storm force winds were pounding parts of the Gulf Coast, giving an indication of the wind and surge potential.

Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston, Texas early on Saturday, September 13th with maximum sustained winds of 110mph. After landfall, the system turned to the north and then to the northeast as it hooked up with a frontal boundary that was draped across the Midwest. The system became extratropical by the end of the day on the 13th and gradually accelerated to the north and east towards the Great Lakes.

Now, at this point, that would normally be the end of the story. A dying tropical system far inland tends to produce a lot of rain and flooding, but wind is not usually an issue. And indeed, parts of Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois saw major and disastrous flooding from a combination of the frontal boundary and the remains of Ike. However, a very unusual situation occurred.

Over the Gulf of Mexico and up through landfall, Ike was never quite able to translate upper level high winds down to the surface. The sustained reading of 110mph at landfall never seemed to actually materialize in reports on the ground, and the vast majority of the damage along the Texas coastline was due to significant storm surge brought in by the massive size of the storm. However, Ike’s inability to translate the highest winds to the surface was about to change.

Ike maintained a very low pressure of between 986 and 990 throughout the journey through the OV and Great Lakes, and as he transitioned from tropical to extratropical, the remains actually intensified and Ike retained a large amount of his original wind field, particularly on the eastern side.

No one forecasted this. The NWS, as late as Saturday evening, had forecast winds of 25mph in gusts for much of Ohio.

On the morning of Sunday, September 14th, 2008, the National Weather Service in Wilmington had issued a Wind Advisory for its forecast area calling for gusty winds of 20-30mph with gusts up to 50mph. However, things began to rapidly change. Kentucky was already getting rocked with high winds of over 50mph, and the winds seemed to intensify even more as the core began to move into Ohio through Cincinnati.

By late morning, winds in Cincinnati had reached a *sustained* speed of 54mph with gusts to hurricane force! These heavy winds began to ride up the I-71 corridor, reaching Wilmington by noon and Columbus by 2pm. For several hours, high winds pounded the area. Sustained winds over 50mph were common, and gusts of 70-80mph were widespread. The winds did not begin to die down until after 6pm, and by 8pm, the area had gone almost completely calm.

When the storm was over, over 1/10th of the entire state’s population was without power, including more than 55% of Columbus. Tens of thousands of trees had fallen, and debris of all kinds was everywhere. Power lines had been snapped, signs had been blown down, billboards had been destroyed, and thousands of homes had sustained structural damage. Power remained out for thousands for up to two weeks after the storm passed.

The story was the same up and down I-71 up through Cleveland, although damage there was less than that in central and southern parts of Ohio. The severe wind field was about 100 miles across and centered through the major cities on I-71. Insured losses from this storm totaled well over a billion dollars, and total damage likely exceeded two billion. This makes the Great Windstorm of 2008 one of the most damaging storms for Ohio of ANY kind in recorded history.