Warm temps and tornadoes are part of the year in 2016 weather

Annual End of Year Weather graphic Header: A month-by-month look at the area’s weather in 2016
Annual End of Year Weather graphic Header: A month-by-month look at the area’s weather in 2016

Unseasonably warm temperatures early in the year, a burst of five tornadoes in one day in March and drought conditions midyear helped define the region’s weather in 2016.

January started out relatively quiet with nearly normal temperatures and very few winter storms. Snowfall for the month was below average with just under 5 inches of snow recorded for the whole month. The biggest snowfall at any one time only produced 1.8 inches of snow.

February was a more active month with more snow and more rain. The month also had wild temperatures swings. It was a snuggly Valentine’s Day as nearly 2 inches of snow fell with temperatures only in the teens. But less than a week later, temperatures topped out just shy of 70 degrees. The month ended with well above average temperatures.

March came in like a lion with rain changing to snow the first couple of days of the month. While temperatures started out cool, they later soared with the month ending nearly 7 degrees above normal. The most active weather day was March 14 when five tornadoes touched down in the area. While there were no injuries, there was damage in several spots with the most severe damage from an EF 1 tornado that touched down near Phillipsburg.

The winds of change arrived in April which turned out to be a very windy month. Numerous reports of wind damage occurred on April 2 as a powerful storm system brought over 60 mph wind gusts with rain and snow showers. The last snow of the season occurred on April 9. Only five days of the month had wind gusts under 20 mph. Despite the gusty winds, precipitation amounts dropped to over an inch below normal by the end of the month.

May started out chilly and stormy, but also relatively cool. By the end of the month though, temperatures soared into the 80s. More storms fired and produced severe winds and hail on May 29.

June saw more active weather as a derecho moved across the Miami Valley on the 23rd bringing with it heavy rain, hail and high winds. Widespread wind damage was reported as wind gusts topped 80 mph on the south side of Dayton. An EF1 tornado touched down near the town of Edgetown in Warren County.

More active weather returned in July with strong storms ripping across the area on July 13 and 14. However despite the storms in June and July, a rainfall deficit of over 3 inches created problems as drought conditions began to impact farmers.

The lack of rain along with well above average temperatures continued into August before beneficial rain arrived by the middle of the month. With the rain though came more severe storms. A tornado outbreak developed across northern and central Indiana and just clipped the northern Miami Valley on Aug. 24. More storms fired on Aug. 26 and 27.

Relatively quiet weather returned in September with only nine days of the month reporting any measurable rainfall. Temperatures also continued well above average with the last 90 degree temperature of the year occurring on Sept. 23. The unseasonably warm and unusually quiet weather continued into October and November with only 10 days of precipitation in October and only five days of measurable precipitation in November.

The weather pattern began to change dramatically as we flipped the calendar to December. Temperatures fell below average after the first week with several arctic blasts sending temperatures near zero. The first significant snowfall of the season occurred on Dec. 13 when a heavy snow band dumped nearly a half foot of snow on the south side of the metro area. Even the polar vortex made a dreaded appearance in the middle of the month forcing wind chill advisories a week before winter even officially arrived.

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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