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Memorial Day tornadoes: What happened?

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 @ 9:58 PM

Why did the Miami Valley see so many and why did they become so strong?

Memorial Day 2019 will go down in the history books as one of the most active severe weather days for the Miami Valley. Five tornadoes occurred ranging from EF0 damage to EF3 within a 3 to 4 hour time frame. This mini tornado outbreak caused significant damage including one fatality and dozens of injuries. 

>> RELATED: 5th tornado confirmed across Montgomery County, Beavercreek, Celina

So, what happened? 

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A strong area of low pressure pushed a warm front through the Miami Valley from the southwest. This opened the door for a very unstable environment to move in. As the low approached, clusters of severe thunderstorms with rotating updrafts enter the region from the west. Once these storms encountered the very unstable air mass in place, they rapidly intensified. 

>> RELATED: Tornado damage, cleanup causing increase in injuries; 1 dead, 130 injured

While there were many injuries and one death reported, that number could have been much higher. Advancement in radar technology and the ability to get severe alerts out to the public with as much lead time as possible likely limited the injury and death toll.