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Dayton area tornado outbreak was historic for NWS

Your questions answered about this event
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Posted at 9:34 AM, Jun 03, 2019

One week ago this evening tornadoes raked across the Dayton area and central Ohio, claiming one life. It's an event that still has people talking and for obvious reasons. Here are several of your questions answered. If you have others you'd like for our team to dive into, submit them to jennifer.ketchmark@wcpo.com.

What's the final tornado tally?
19 tornadoes struck the Dayton area on May 27th.

Were there 19 areas of rotation or are some of these from the same cell?
The NWS says there were 5 distinct areas of rotation that led to the 19 tornado reports. Andy Hatzos gave us this breakdown.

  • "One supercell hit our northern counties (Mercer/Auglaize) and then another one developed in close proximity in Hardin County. One hit Darke and Miami, leading to the West Milton tornado among others. Then we had the two supercells that followed each other across Montgomery/Greene/Fayette/Pickaway/Hocking, each producing several tornadoes. Important to note that these were cyclic supercells, so while the large-scale circulations remained intact, the low-level circulations would form and dissipate and form and dissipate, which is how you get some breaks between the tornado tracks in various spots."

Wilmington office tornado reports

How many of each tornado rating?

  • EF4 - 1
  • EF3 - 3
  • EF2 - 3
  • EF1 - 5
  • EF0 - 7
  • Complete report and breakdown of each HERE.

How significant was this event?
This is the highest number of tornadoes in one event that the National Weather Service in Wilmington has covered since it started operations in 1994. Prior to that, the Weather Service Office (WSO) covered local weather forecasting through offices in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus. The three metro areas were combined in 1994 and this event tops all others. The office covers 52 counties that include part of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Here's a look at the top events from the past.

How does this compare to the day that Xenia was hit?
While the number of tornadoes reported locally was well into the teens, on April 3-4, 1974 the scope of tornado magnitude/damage/deaths during the Xenia event was worse. Locally, we saw two F5 tornadoes in this event. This includes the Xenia tornado and Sayler Park tornado. Specifically in Xenia, a significant portion of the town was destroyed and it was the deadliest tornado of the day taking 32 lives. And the Sayler Park tornado, also an F5, was technically a Tri-State tornado first touching down in Indiana, crossing into Boone County, Kentucky and then into Hamilton County, Ohio where it hit Sayler Park.

1974 Super Outbreak local view