(WKBN) — Rare but certainly not unheard of, January severe weather can happen from time to time. We generally lack a lot of warm, humid, unstable air this time of year. However, strong jet stream winds can be enough to overcome the lack of very unstable air and cause severe wind gusts or isolated tornadoes. Strong wind shear can provide the turning needed to cause quick, usually weak, spin-up tornadoes. It hasn’t happened often in January, but the number of January tornadoes in Ohio and Pennsylvania may be higher than you think. In fact, the most recent January tornado in Pennsylvania occurred in our viewing area.
January tornadoes in Ohio since 1950
The National Centers For Environmental Information’s database on tornadoes goes back to January 1950. Since that time, there have been nine tornadoes occurring in January across the state of Ohio. Of those nine, one of them occurred in our viewing area. Below is the list of known tornadoes happening in Ohio since 1950. Scroll down below the tables for a map view of the tornado locations.
January tornadoes in Pennsylvania since 1950
The National Centers For Environmental Information’s database on tornadoes goes back to January 1950. Since that time, there have been seven tornadoes occurring in January across the state of Pennsylvania. Of those seven, the most recent happened in our viewing area. Below is the list of known tornadoes happening in Pennsylvania since 1950. Scroll down below the tables for a map view of the tornado locations.
Storm Prediction Center outlooks issued in January in Ohio and Pennsylvania
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issues outlooks for areas where severe weather may occur every day. Particular attention is paid to the day 1-3 outlooks, indicating the probability of severe weather for the following three days period. Archives of that data are available through the Iowa Environmental Mesonet of Iowa State University. Today’s risks include five categories:
-Marginal (Level 1 of 5)
-Slight (Level 2 of 5)
-Enhanced (Level 3 of 5)
-Moderate (Level 4 of 5)
-High (Level 5 of 5)
Prior to 2015, there were just three categories: slight, moderate and high. Data on occurrences of slight, moderate and high-risk issuances in January go back to 2002. Data for the Marginal and enhanced risks dates back to 2015. Below is a look at how many times a severe outlook has occurred in the region during the month of January since 2002/2015.
January marginal risks in Ohio and western Pennsylvania
The marginal risk category is the lowest severe outlook category. It indicates an expected potential for isolated severe storms in the outlined area. Since 2015, that outlook has only included parts of our viewing area between 4-5 times in January in Columbiana County. For Trumbull, Mercer, Mahoning and Lawrence counties, it has only occurred 3-4 times in January.
January slight risks in Ohio and western Pennsylvania
The slight risk category is one step up from a marginal risk. It indicates an expected potential for scattered severe storms in the outlined area. The higher-risk category has been used for many years. Archived data for the number of times a slight risk has included Ohio or western Pennsylvania dates back to January 2002. The majority of our viewing area has only been included in this level of severe risk 3-5 times in January over the last 22 years. Northern Trumbull and Mercer counties have only been included in that outlook 2-3 times in January over the last 22 years.
January enhanced risks in Ohio and western Pennsylvania
The enhanced risk category is the middle category, indicating a much more elevated risk for severe storms. It implies the expectation for numerous severe storms to occur in the outlined area. It was first introduced in 2015. The severe outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Jan. 19, 2023, included parts of western and central Ohio at enhanced risk for severe weather. That is the first time that level of severe outlook has been issued in the state of Ohio in January. In fact, it is the furthest north that the outlook has ever been issued in the month of January. That level of severe risk had only been issued in the southeastern US during the month of January prior to Jan. 19, 2023. Our area has never been included in that risk level in January.