Speaker highlights top weather events

WARREN – Thomas Schmidlin, chair of the department of geography at Kent State University, was among a series of speakers who spoke on weather during National Weather Week held at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library.

Schmidlin, author of “Thunder in the Heartland” spoke about many severe weather events including the local May 31, 1985, tornado.

“I like talking about the weather not just for teaching but in the community. It is one subject that everyone is interested in,” he said noting he is often asked about the tornado. “While a tornado may only affect a small area, floods and snowstorms may affect all 88 counties in Ohio,” Schmidlin said.

“People often remember weather events based on what they were doing or what was happening in their life such attending a college class or giving birth. The memory of those storms are tied to those events,” he said.

Among the top storms were:

Feb. 10, 1899 – A major cold wave hit the United States setting Ohio’s -20 degree record low which caused water pipes to freeze and factories to close.

“We are more vulnerable today to events like that because we depend so much on electricity and because we travel more,” Schmidlin said.

April 1901 – A snowstorm drop 30 inches on Warren.

March 13-17, 1913 – The Great Flood with six to 10 inches of rain statewide which led to future flood control measures.

“The flood of 1913 led to the death of 467 people,” he said.

July 1934 – Ohio’s hottest recorded temperature of 113 degrees.

November 1950 – The Great Thanksgiving Snow with 20 to 40 inches of snow.

April 11, 1965 – Tornadoes on Palm Sunday killed 55. The tornado’s effect led to the weather warning sirens.

Jan. 26, 1978 – A major blizzard and strongest winter storm across the entire state. There was no traveling for three days. Schmidlin said there was $73 million loss to agriculture and also 51 deaths.

May 31, 1985 – Only F-5 tornado in the entire nation that year traveling 47 miles through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. Eleven people died in Trumbull County. There were 41 tornadoes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario,