1950s Ohio Severe Weather Reports Map

Interested in knowing where severe weather took place in Ohio during the 1950s? Here is a map for all the listed reports during that era. Click on the pins for more information.


The map incudes information for tornadoes, high wind and hail reports.

June 8, 1953 tornado damage.

Columbus Tornado History

**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 32 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: 10

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, 4/3/2018
*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:

And see other Ohio severe weather reports here:

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.