Was That Really a Tornado in Middletown? National Weather Service Is Investigating

Photos from Monday's storms appear to show at least one tornado that traveled through Greater Cincinnati.

Feb 28, 2023 at 9:59 am
click to enlarge A possible tornado appears in Germantown on Feb. 27, 2023. The National Weather Service is investigating if this should be classified as a tornado. - Photo: twitter.com/daytonskywarn
A possible tornado appears in Germantown on Feb. 27, 2023. The National Weather Service is investigating if this should be classified as a tornado.

As crews begin to clean up the mess from the storms and alleged tornado that ripped through southwestern Ohio on Monday, Feb. 27, the National Weather Service is investigating what exactly happened.

After winds began dying down on Feb. 27, the NWS in Wilmington said that it would conduct storm damage surveys in Middletown, Orient (near Columbus) and Pike Township (near Springfield) to determine the cause and full nature of the event. The agency also is requesting photos and information from the public about weather events that occurred near their homes.

But did an actual tornado touch down? Public photos indicate yes, but the NWS isn't so sure yet.

"Preliminary results will be reported when a determination is made regarding whether the storm in question was tornadic or not. A final report will likely be issued later in the day," the NWS said late Monday night.

In July, three tornadoes ripped through Brown and Clermont counties, causing extensive damage and pushing Gov. Mike DeWine to declare a local state of emergency.

The storm's path

click to enlarge "Came through Middletown and went up towards Dayton," Alex Weineke says about the funnel that appears to be a tornado on Feb. 27, 2023. - Photo: Alex Weineke
Photo: Alex Weineke
"Came through Middletown and went up towards Dayton," Alex Weineke says about the funnel that appears to be a tornado on Feb. 27, 2023.
The National Weather Service had been issuing alerts about possible severe weather for the Ohio/Indiana border since Feb. 26, saying that rain and thunder would occur the following morning with thunderstorms developing by evening. The NWS also said to expect strong winds and a tornado threat.

By morning on Feb. 27, the NWS was warning more forcefully about "damaging winds and isolated tornadoes," showing a map of central Indiana as the region most ripe for severe weather. Around noon, the agency launched a weather balloon and said that east-central Ohio should expect storms to quickly move in.

By 1:30 p.m., Greater Cincinnati and all of southwestern and central Ohio – plus portions of Kentucky and Indiana – were under a tornado watch and/or a severe thunderstorm warning.

"The greatest severe threat is now extending from east-central IN into west-central OH and will move into the Miami Valley over the next hour or so. Be prepared to move to a lower-level/interior space should a warning be issued for your area!" the National Weather Service outpost in Wilmington tweeted at 2:20 p.m.

The NWS shared a photo of a tornado on the ground in Germantown, about 50 miles north of Cincinnati, around 3 p.m. Around that time, Alex Weineke, a relative of a CityBeat staff writer, shared a photo of what appeared to be a tornado near that area.

"Came through Middletown and went up towards Dayton," Weineke told CityBeat.

Tornado warnings continued for central west-central Ohio and the Columbus area throughout the afternoon and early evening.

The NWS in Wilmington predicts that Greater Cincinnati will experience light showers on Feb. 28 and thunderstorms late in the day on Wednesday.


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