The Ohio Valley Tornado Outbreak of 2017Nov05: An Examination of the Long Track EF2 Tornado Across Eastern Indiana/Western Ohio (221)

Jeff Logsdon, National Weather Service Northern Indiana, Syracuse, Indiana

Todd Holsten, National Weather Service Northern Indiana



On November 5th 2017, an outbreak of severe weather occurred over the Ohio Valley that stretched from eastern Indiana up into northwest Pennsylvania, producing widespread wind damage and over a dozen tornadoes. In a joint effort between the National Weather Service offices (NWS) in Northern Indiana, Indianapolis, and Wilmington, Ohio, storm damage surveys conducted following the event revealed that 6 separate tornado reports resulted from a single long-track tornado that produced EF-2 damage. This tornado was on the ground for more than an hour and had a path length of 39 miles, which if exclusive to Indiana, would have broken the previous path length record for a November tornado in that state.

This strong, long duration tornado produced few injuries and amazingly no fatalities. With the increasing diversity of Decision Support Services (DSS) provided by the NWS, the long-standing service of storm damage surveys continues to be a critical link with the mission of the NWS and the core partners and public we serve. In addition to DSS, damage surveys provide a unique learning environment for NWS forecasters as detailed observations during ground level surveys combined with areal footage from drones provided insights into the multi-vortex nature of the tornado itself for this event.

This presentation will examine the mesoscale environment that favored tornadogenesis in the Ohio valley, including how the mesoanalyst utilized this information to increase the lead time of the tornado warning. DSS provided during storm damage surveys will also be discussed including the incredible stories from survivors of this tornado that were shared with NWS forecasters and made a strong connection to the timely warnings we issue with the actions the public takes to protect their lives.