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Notable Weather Events of 2009

Starting off 2009...
    The first few days of 2009 really did not shed too much light on what was in store for the rest of the month.  Temperatures were near normal.  Locations outside of the Snowbelt had an inch or less of snow on the ground. Even the Snowbelt itself had less than a foot of snow on the ground.  Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) had received 18.8 inches of snow so far that winter season.

Snowy, Cold January ...
     With the arrival of the second week of the New Year came snow, and even more snow; some every day for over two weeks straight (at CLE).  During that time an Arctic outbreak of cold air brought the coldest temperatures the area had seen in 15 years. On January 16th, the temperature at CLE dropped to -13°F.  This was the coldest temperature reported at Cleveland since January 19, 1994 when the all time record coldest temperature of -20°F was recorded.  Readings of -10°F to -22°F were common that morning.
     There was snow on the ground for at least three of the 4 weeks of January at all of our climate locations.  Cleveland finished out the month with 40.5 inches of snow and came up just short of the all-time snowiest January record from 1978 (42.8 inches).  Toledo was just 0.2 inches away from their record.  January 2009 had 30.7 inches nearing the record of 30.8 inches in 1978.  Mansfield did break their snowfall record for the month.  With 43.8 inches, they broke their previous record of 42.1 inches from January 1978.
     The month ended up anywhere from 5.5°F to 7.5°F below normal.


Animation of Snow Depth (1st two weeks of January 2009)

nsm_depth_2009011505_Southern_Great_Lakes_thumb.jpg nsm_depth_2009011505_Midwest_thumb.jpg
NE OH/ NW PA Midwest including NW OH


Animation of Snow Depth (last two weeks of January 2009)

nsm_depth_2009013105_Southern_Great_Lakes_thumb.jpg nsm_depth_2009013105_Midwest_thumb.jpg
NE OH/ NW PA Midwest including NW OH

The Roar of the Wind ...
     Cleveland Hopkins Airport had nearly two feet of snow on the ground on the morning of February 5.  The low that day was -7°F.  As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather, just wait it out a day.  Within two days the high temperature reached a balmy 52°F and within three days Cleveland had gone from 22 inches of snow on the ground to just 2 inches.  The weather continued mild, but with the mild weather came a price, a price in the form of thunderstorms and high winds.
      February 11th saw a high temperature of 63 degrees. A strong area of low pressure tracked northeast from the lower Mississippi Valley through the central Great Lakes.  Showers and thunderstorms developed across the region during the evening hours of the 11th with some of the thunderstorms becoming severe and causing a great deal of damage.  Additional damage was caused by strong winds behind the cold front.  Thousands of trees were downed and hundreds of homes and buildings were damaged across the area by the strong winds behind the front.

Radar Loop from 2/11/09

wind damage from a tree

Lake-Enhanced Rain Produces Flash Flooding ...
     An unseasonably cool air mass associated with a strong upper level low over the Great Lakes region combined with warm Lake Erie waters produced a persistent, intense lake-enhanced rainfall. The rain trained repeatedly over northern Erie County, Pennsylvania during the early morning hours of June 30th.  Over 4 inches of rain fell along the Interstate 90 corridor from near Girard to just south of Erie, with isolated locations receiving nearly 7 inches of rain. The lake-enhanced showers re-intensified around 9 am that morning and shifted north of Interstate 90, causing rapid rises along Fourmile Creek in Wesleyville, Harborcreek Township, and Lawrence Park.  Fourmile Creek rose 4 to 5 feet out of bank.

map of flooding areas
The above map and the image to the right are courtesy of The Erie Times. car submerged in flood waters

The Only Tornado of the Year ...
     Wayne County on July 31st had the only tornado of the year in NWS CLE’s county warning area.  It was one of 12 that occurred statewide in Ohio.  It was rated an EF-1 and touched down in a rural part of the county about five miles south of Wooster.  It was on the ground for a quarter of a mile.  A pole barn and a portion of a fence were damaged by the tornado.  Several trees were also downed. 

Coolest July on Record for Ohio and PA ...
     July was significantly cooler than normal across the region.  It ranked in the top 10 coldest July’s on record at most of the climate stations in northern Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania.  It was the second coolest July on record at both Mansfield and Erie, PA.  The weather pattern in July was more reminiscent of January with a northwest flow persisting for most of the month.  The average temperature in July at Cleveland was 69.9 degrees (normal is 71.9 degrees).  The warmest temperature from our six climate stations for the month was 87 degrees in Toledo.  The pattern shifted for August and August ended up slightly above normal.  Toledo reached 94°F on two occasions in August. 

July 2009 by the Numbers







Erie, PA

Average Temperature for July







Ranking in Records







Warmest Temperature July 2009







Warm & Dry in November...
     The region was able to hang onto the fall season well into November when temperatures were above normal and precipitation for the month was below normal.  It was the 3rd warmest November on record for Youngstown with an average temperature of 46.5 degrees.  The record holder is 51.1 degrees from 1931.
     Precipitation for the month was running between 2 and 2 ½ inches below normal.  There wasn’t even an inch of precipitation at Toledo and Youngstown.  Toledo received just 0.67 inches (5th driest) and Youngstown 0.92 inches (6th driest). The Toledo record remains at 0.04 inches from 1904 and Youngstown’s remains at 0.27 inches from 1917.

Monthly Records...
     There was only one monthly record that was broken across our six climate stations in 2009. Mansfield broke their record for the snowiest January. January of 2009 had 43.8 inches of snow breaking the record from 1978 of 42.1 inches. Otherwise January was one of the coldest Januarys with top ten rankings at many locations.
    All of these monthly statistics for our climate stations can be found year around by going to the following link and selecting your station. Data each month are updated within a week if data for the previous month made the "top ten."
    NWS Cleveland Unique Local Climate Data

Annual/Yearly Records...
     There were no yearly records broken in 2009. Temperatures for the year were within one degree of normal. The average temperature across the area was around 49.5 degrees. All of our climate stations except Toledo had below normal rainfall for the year. Stations ranged from 6.74 inches below normal in Mansfield (with a yearly total of 36.49 inches) to 2.2 inches below normal at Erie, PA (with a yearly total of 40.55 inches). Toledo was 4.81 inches above normal with 38.02 inches.
     Records that encompass yearly totals such as the wettest/driest/snowiest years on record are again located on our Unique Local Climate Data page (follow the link above).

Memorable Weather Events...
View our growing local weather events page highlighted below.
   Local Weather Events and Local Interest Features Page

The publication, StormData, can be found with the National Climatic Data Center.

Worldwide Climate Anomalies and Events...
   Significant Global Climate Events and Anomalies 2009
   NCDC 2009 Preliminary Annual Global Climate Report

Additional Notes...
All data are considered preliminary. The National Climatic Data Center finalizes and stores the official record of all of our weather data. Period of record are as follows:
Records date back to 1874 for Erie
                                 1897 for Youngstown
                                 1871 for Canton-Akron, Cleveland, and Toledo
                                 1916 for Mansfield