Severe Weather Awareness Week preparation begins

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Spring is only two weeks away, which will also mark the beginning Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio on Sunday, March 20 through March 26, 2016.

In preparation for storm season, Storm Team 4 meteorologist Ben Gelber joined Franklin County EMA and Homeland Security, the NWS in Wilmington, and Ohio State Meteorology Club at the Severe Weather Spotter Seminar this weekend, held at OSU’s Fawcett Center for the fifth consective year.

Last year was relatively quiet for severe storms in Ohio, with only 7 tornadoes reported, including a rare winter event on Dec. 23 that spawned an EF0 funnel near Arcanum, Darke County. The tornado count in 2015 was the fewest in the state since 2005. Active years such as 2010 and 2011 had as many as 40 and 39 tornadoes, repsectively.

Severe storm season in Ohio normally ramps up in April, but peaks inMay and June. There are exceptions, such as March 3, 2012, when a deadly tornado swept through the town of Moscow, in Clermont County, southeast of Cincinnati, taking three lives.

Certified spotters are the “eyes on the ground” that confirm what Doppler weather radar “sees” in the sky, providing crucial information that informs thunderstorm and tornado warnings issued by the  Weather Service.

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