August 12th, 2023 Athens County Tornado

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Photograph by James Zinnbauer, 8/12/23

On August 12th, 2023, a slight risk of severe thunderstorms had been issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) at 1200Z, which had encompassed most of Ohio, with an additional enhanced risk from Pennsylvania reaching into Northeastern Ohio. For Southeastern Ohio, a 2% risk of tornadoes was issued, and by 2254Z, a supercell exhibiting weak rotation approached Athens, Ohio. This cell was the only supercell that had developed in southeastern Ohio, and despite an improbable synoptic and mesoscale setup, a tornado was reported at 2333Z, beginning in Angel Ridge Road. The tornado was designated an EF-1, and had tracked 2.3 miles across Athens County, with wind speeds at 100 mph. This tornado was one of seven tornadoes ever recorded in Athens County and was only a few miles away from Ohio University. This case study will detail the atmospheric setup for this severe event and the forecasts issued, and a verification of the resulting storm.