6PM UPDATE: The SPC website shows six tornado reports including one that caused significant damage in the New Orleans area. The report out of East New Orleans says that around 60 houses sustained varying degrees of damage and approximately 25 people have been injured. NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans also received damage. Meanwhile, the SPC has removed Ohio from the Marginal risk but an isolated thunderstorm is possible this evening.
2PM UPDATE: A new Tornado Watch has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center until 6pm CST for Southwestern Alabama and extreme western parts of the Florida Panhandle. Thunderstorms continue to head east out of Louisiana and Mississippi. Thunderstorms have already produced a couple tornadoes in Louisiana including one that significantly damaged or destroyed at least four homes and injured at least two people.
Many across the Buckeye State were woken up late last night as thunderstorms moved across parts of the region. The risk for showers and thunderstorms exists again today with the best chance across Southwestern Ohio including Dayton and Cincinnati. Mild temperatures have moved into Ohio with 10am temperatures ranging from 43 at Toledo to 60 degrees at Cincinnati. As is often the case with warmer weather in February, rain is likely today along with the threat of a few strong or perhaps marginally severe thunderstorms.
The risk of severe weather across Ohio today is low overall and this is not expected to be a widespread severe event for the Buckeye State. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had placed most of Ohio under a Marginal risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. This was trimmed in the most recent SPC outlook to include only the western half of the state. They have identified the main risk in this area to be strong gusty winds which the SPC gives a 5% risk for. They also have a 5% risk of hail in extreme western and southwestern parts of the state. With cold air aloft, we believe small hail is a possibility with the strongest storms but we also expect that damaging winds will likely be the greatest hazard across Ohio with strong thunderstorms most likely in the southwest.
The severe weather threat across the country today will likely be centered closer to the Gulf of Mexico where conditions are more favorable for the development of thunderstorms. A tornado watch has already been issued this morning for parts of Mississippi and Louisiana and numerous tornado warnings have also been issued. As of 11am, no tornado reports have come in but considering the number of warnings in Louisiana, this will likely change. While the focus for this event will be to our south, we will continue to watch the event unfold as the day goes on and provide updates as needed.
The mild weather doesn’t stick around for long. Find out what meteorologist Brian Ivey has to say about our return to winter and the potential for snow here and along the east coast later today.