Ohio ties record for total tornadoes in a year; new record likely for 2024

Strong storms this week produced several tornadoes in Ohio and brought state’s total number of confirmed tornadoes to 62, equal to the highest number reported in any year.

Before this year the record for the most tornadoes in a year was set in 1992, which saw 62 tornadoes all year, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Christopher Hogue.

Hogue said it is “remotely possible” that Ohio will go the rest of the year without a tornado but added that tornadoes can occur on any day.

Ohio was already on track for an unusually high number of tornadoes, leading the nation in the number of twisters back in April. At the time, NWS meteorologist Ashley Novak said that large-scale weather patterns like El Niño have been pushing more severe weather north into our area.

The summer of 1992 was an unusual one, with unseasonably cool weather that has been attributed to ash from the June 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines circumnavigating the globe in the atmosphere.

That summer also had a large outbreak of tornadoes, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center reporting 29 tornadoes striking the state on July 12, 1992, and four more two days later on the July 14.

The worst tornado in Ohio in 1992, according to NOAA’s storm event database, occurred Feb. 18, and was classified an EF4, with winds as high as 166-200 mph causing devastating damage. The tornado touched down near U.S. 127 and the Van Wert-Mercer county line and traveled for 2.8 miles, killing six people and injuring six more.

Finalized statistics of this year’s tornadoes are not yet available, but in southwest Ohio arguably the worst tornado so far this year was an EF-3 tornado that struck Auglaize and Logan counties on March 14.

That tornado touched down near Wapakoneta and traveled 31.2 miles, notably striking the communities around Indian Lake, leaving behind what the NWS described as a “corridor of severe damage.” Three people were killed in the tornado and a further 27 were injured.

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