Climate and monthly weather forecast
Ohio, USA

Flag of Ohio, USA
Flag of Ohio, USA

The climate of Ohio

Ohio has a humid continental type of climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa, Dfb) in much of the state and a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) in the extreme south.
The warmth increases from north to south regions, with typically hot summers and cold winters. Ohio lies in the Great Lakes region of North America. Michigan in the northwest, Lake Erie in the north, Pennsylvania in the east, West Virginia in the southeast, Kentucky in the south, and Indiana in the west, border the state. The high latitudes, lack of high mountain ranges, and proximity to the Great Lakes are major players that dominate the climate.

Ohio, The Buckeye State, has an average elevation of 260 meters above sea level, with the highest point at Campbell Hill at 472 meters. Lake Erie defines much of the northern border and provides the state with over 300 miles of the coast. The Ohio River forms the southern border. Glaciated Till Plains dominate the topography, with the Great Black Swamp, a flat area in the northwest. The Allegheny Plateau is a region of hills and forests to the east and southeast of the plains. The Scioto River, Maumee River, Muskingum River, Cuyahoga River, and the Great Miami River are the main rivers in the state. The northern part of Ohio drains into the North Atlantic Ocean, while the southern part drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

Summers are hot and humid in Ohio, with average high temperatures rising to 90°F (32.2°C) at the peak of July. Lake Erie moderates temperatures in the northeast coastal region during spring and summer by a few degrees. Polar air masses from the north and hot tropical air from the south clash to produce frequent changes in the cold season. Winters are cold and verge on being bitter, with nights below 15°F (-9.4°C) in the north during January. Lake effect snowstorms occur on Lake Erie's southeast shore. Spring has warm temperatures but is prone to tornadoes and thunderstorms. Autumn has cloudy skies but pleasant temperatures and less rain.

The average annual rainfall in Ohio is 38" (965mm) and occurs throughout the year. Cyclones contribute to the rainfall from October to March, while thunderstorms are significant contributors during the rest of the year. The average monthly rainfall is between 2" (51mm) to 5" (127mm), with October the driest and April the wettest. Snowfall varies from 16" (406mm) in the south to 35" (889mm) in the northwest and 90" (2286mm) in the extreme northeast. The growing season lasts up to 200 days in coastal areas due to the beneficial effect of Lake Erie. The relative humidity level throughout the year is 75%. September and October are prone to dense fog as is January, with visibility under one-fourth of a mile. Ohio receives 2200 hours of sunshine annually.

The record high temperature for Ohio is 113°F (45°C), set in Gallipolis on July 21, 1934, while the lowest recorded temperature is -39°F (-39.4°C), set in Milligan on February 10, 1899.

The best time to visit Ohio

The best time to visit Ohio is in the fall season from September to October when the temperatures are pleasant, and the rainfall is less. There is ample sunlight and the day temperatures are in the comfortable 60°F (15.6°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) zone. Nights are mild in the range of 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) and become cold in the latter half of autumn. The summer storm activity eases considerably in the autumn, but the skies tend to be cloudy. Fall is the most colorful time of the year, and the landscape bathes in breathtaking hues. Fall vacations are budget-friendly than the summer.

The worst time to visit Ohio

The worst time to visit Ohio is during the winter season from December to February when severe cold holds its grip on the state. The northern regions are colder than the south, and night temperatures often drop below 0°F (-17.8°C). Strong wind speeds exacerbate the cold in the absence of natural mountain barriers. Polar air masses invade from the north and penetrate even the south. Snowstorms are frequent in the winter, with lake effect snow in the coastal areas of Lake Erie. Fog frequency peaks in the winter near the Great Lakes region.

Weather hazards

Ohio is vulnerable to thunderstorms, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, cyclones, and snowstorms. Floods occur mostly in winter due to a combination of excessive rainfall and wet saturated ground along with snowmelt in spring and summer. Earthquakes of low intensity occur due to numerous fault lines, particularly in Western Ohio and Southern Great Lakes Seismic Zones. Storms from the Gulf of Mexico occasionally bring a copious amount of moisture and snow west of the Appalachians. Straight-line winds blow during severe thunderstorms in the heart of the summer season. Tornadoes are less in number but produce more fatalities due to high wind speeds from 110 to above 200mph (321.9km/h). Hail, tornadoes, and high winds produce most of the damage.

Weather in January

January is generally the coldest month of the year in Ohio and also the snowiest. The average temperatures are in the chilly 17°F (-8.3°C) to 44°F (6.7°C) and drop below 0°F (-17.8°C) in a few places. Columbus, the capital in the south, registers between 23°F (-5°C) to 37°F (2.8°C), while Chippewa Lake in the north is between a cold 17°F (-8.3°C) to 32°F (0°C) range. The rainfall is less than 4" (102mm), but ice and snow are major contributors to the precipitation. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is cold in Ohio, with average temperatures in the 19°F (-7.2°C) to 49°F (9.4°C) range. Lake effect snow is prominent along the southern shores of Lake Erie. The northern region receives 8" (203mm) to 10" (254mm) of snowfall compared to 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) in the south. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is cold in Ohio as the cloudy state welcomes the short spring season by the second half of the month. The average high temperatures are in the zone of 45°F (7.2°C) to 59°F (15°C), while the average low temperatures are between 27°F (-2.8°C) to 34°F (1.1°C). Precipitation sees a slight uptick, but there is a decrease in snowfall. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is cold to warm and wet in Ohio, with partly cloudy skies and up to 3" (76mm) of rainfall. The snowfall is over in the south and is light to moderate in the northern part of the state. The southern portion becomes freeze-free as well as much of the north. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is wet in the spring season of Ohio with 4" (102mm) to 5" (127mm) of rainfall and wetter south compared to the north. The daily sunshine of 7 hours is of moderate intensity and charges the atmosphere. The average day temperatures are in the warm 69°F (20.6°C) to 78°F (25.6°C) range, while the nights tend to be cold but comfortable between 47°F (8.3°C) to 54°F (12.2°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the hot and humid summer season in Ohio, with daily highs in the 78°F (25.6°C) to 86°F (30°C) range. Mid-day time is the hottest, and afternoons are prone to thunderstorms. Nights are comfortable in the zone of 57°F (13.9°C) to 63°F (17.2°C), although the skies tend to be cloudy. The precipitation is between 4" (102mm) to 5" (127mm) in the span of 10 to 12 wet days in much of the state. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the peak of the summer season in Ohio, with temperatures routinely above 90°F (32.2°C). The average high temperatures, however, remain in the 82°F (27.8°C) to 90°F (32.2°C) range, and the average low temperatures are in the comfortable zone of 61°F (16.1°C) to 68°F (20°C). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is hot and humid in Ohio, with the day temperatures between 80°F (26.7°C) to 89°F (31.7°C). Nights are relatively mild by the end of the summer in the 59°F (15°C) to 66°F (18.9°C) range. The relative humidity is at a high level, which makes it an ideal time to wear t-shirts, sweatshirts, and shorts. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September brings the beautiful autumn season to Ohio, with a significant drop in the heat index. The hot and humid weather gives way to pleasing conditions as the day temperatures register in the 73°F (22.8°C) to 82°F (27.8°C) range. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the driest month of the year in Ohio and that of peak fall foliage. The landscape attains beautiful colors, and the lake shorelines display brilliant hues of orange, crimson, yellow, and purple. Peak colors display throughout the state by the fourth week of October. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November brings cold weather to Ohio with the fall season on its last legs. The foliage maintains its peak till the second week of the month, but the severe cold may suddenly see the leaves leaving the trees. The average high temperatures are between 49°F (9.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while the average low temperatures are in the cold 33°F (0.6°C) to 37°F (2.8°C) range. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is cold in Ohio, with the average low temperatures in the freezing 22°F (-5.6°C) to 29°F (-1.7°C) range. The day temperatures also do not warm up much and remain in the cold 36°F (2.2°C) to 48°F (8.9°C) zone. Temperature variations depend a lot upon the altitude in the various parts of the state. The skies are gloomy for long periods as the sunlight lasts only for 3 to 4 hours during the day. Weather in December »
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