CLEVELAND - It's true the majority of tornadoes that hit the U.S. each year happen in and around the Central and Southern Plain States. Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma see the most tornadoes in a normal year.
That why we call that area Tornado Alley. Ohio sees fewer tornadoes per year yes. But, if you track them on a map, do you think we might find a mini-tornado alley right here in northern Ohio? Let's take a look.
Ohio has seen its share of tornadoes. Since 1950, our state has logged 919 of them. If you do the math, that's 919 divided by 62 for an average of 16 per year. Most of these occur from May through July. If you count tornadoes by county, you get a better idea of where twisters are most likely to occur.
First, let's start with the local counties that have seen the least amount of twisters since 1950. Seneca, Holmes and Coshocton counties all with less than 10. Of course, Lake County has seen the least with only two. That's one every 31 years.
Our major cities, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Ashland have registered anywhere from 10 to 15 twisters since 1950.
Next, Medina, Wayne, Huron and Seneca counties average a tornado about every four years.
Here are the tornado leaders: Lorain and Richland counties. 26 twisters in 62 years. That's about one every twp or three years.
Now, we can begin to see where tornadoes like to strike here in northern Ohio. Our mini-tornado alley is here: from Elyria and North Ridgeville, south to Medina and Wooster and then west to Mansfield and Norwalk.
As for the strength of a twister, wind speeds are determined by the amount of damage left behind. This is known as the EF Scale or Enhanced Fujita Scale. The scale goes from the weakest tornado, an EF-0, with winds up to 85 miles per hour, all the way up to the strongest, most devastating tornado. That's an EF-5. This twister has winds of 200 mph or more.
Large EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes have devastated Ohio towns like Lorain, Strongsville, Newton Falls and Niles. The deadliest tornado in Ohio history occurred in the city of Lorain back in June of 1924. Eight-five people lost their lives that day.