National Weather Service says rapid intensification led to no tornado warning in Toledo

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 8:41 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Rapid intensification, that’s the explanation from the National Weather Service about why we did not see a tornado warning last week as an EF-2 tornado rolled through Point Place in Toledo.

The 13 Action News I-Team learned officials with the NWS will take a closer look at the whole thing to see how they could handle it better in the future.

The NWS says the storm wasn’t a surprise, they knew something could happen, but the storm that hit Point Place picked up steam quickly.

That is what they called the rapid intensification of the storm as it left Southeast Michigan, hit the water then pounded Point Place. Fortunately, no one was killed but there was plenty of damage. All of it happened with no tornado warning and that’s part of what the NWS will look at.

NWS forecasters say they knew days in advance storms were possible and then tracked them though Michigan. Our area is watched by a radar system out of Cleveland, with some overlap from the radar in Detroit.

“We are able and equipped to use the different radars as its approaching,” said NWS warning coordination meteorologist Freddie Zeigler. “So in a situation where we have a line of storms moving across, we’re able to use those two radars. In this situation it was very unique and very rare. The intensification occurred right over Toledo. Right over a densely populated area.”

The speed at which this storm went from a severe storm to a tornado was quick and it dropped in a residential area, not a rural field where it could be spotted as it picks up steam.

“The rapid intensification really caught us in a situation where we went from severe thunderstorm to ramping up to a tornado warning,” said Zeigler.

Zeigler says the area gets sufficient coverage from those two radars.

“Is this going to happen all the time? We don’t think so, but again, from the outlook stand point going from Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday morning, we were under a general thunderstorm outlook and we upgraded to a marginal outlook,” said Zeigler. “Marginal outlook means maybe some hail, maybe some damaging winds.”

“As far as radar, the rapid intensification, that was a situation that occurred right before we actually saw it,” said Zeigler. “There was some indication in the office that had already occurred as we started to get confirmed reports because we were getting reports. We thought they were wind related but we were unsure. But once we got the report there was an actual tornado, we upgraded the severe thunderstorm warning to a tornado warning.”

We’ve also learned Governor Mike DeWine has written a letter to the NWS asking about the lack of tornado warning for Point Place. Lots of other places did get warnings, they include eastern Lucas County and into Sandusky County and Huron County. Eventually the weather service caught up to the storm and its severity.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.