(WKBN) — Saturday was a very active weather day as multiple rounds of strong winds resulted in downed trees, powerlines and damage to homes/businesses.

Once this high-impact weather event was over, one of the main questions residents kept asking me was: “What exactly caused the strong winds on Saturday?” In the aftermath of high-impact weather events, it is always important to look back on the meteorological factors that played a role. Today, I am going to dive into the details regarding the severe wind event from the weekend.

On Saturday, a strong low-pressure system was located just to the north and west of the Valley. Regardless of any thunderstorm activity, the winds were forecast to gust from 40-50 mph on Saturday afternoon due to the strong storm system.

Storm setup for Saturday, March 25, 2023.

Early that morning, rain associated with a warm front pushed through the area. This warm front cleared the entire Valley by around midday which allowed the sun to come out for a short period of time.

The warm front combined with the sunshine allowed temperatures to rise into the low to mid 60s across the area, which added the needed energy for thunderstorms to form along the cold front which was located in central Ohio around midday.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh released a special weather balloon at noon on Saturday to assist with the forecasting of severe weather that afternoon. The weather balloon revealed some interesting features.

Now, do not let this image confuse you. There is a lot going on here, but the most important details are simple. The red horizontal line drawn on the image represents the atmosphere 3,280 feet above the ground.

On the right-hand side of the graph, I circled two wind barbs. These wind barbs indicate that the wind was out of the southwest at 60 mph only 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the ground. In other words, there were severe thunderstorm winds only a couple thousand feet above the surface on Saturday.

Weather balloon data from the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March, 25th, 2023.

By Saturday afternoon, all of the ingredients were in place. The only detail missing was a mechanism to move those severe winds down to the surface. This changed when thunderstorms developed along the cold front as it pushed into the Valley. The heavy rain and hail that comes out of thunderstorms brings the strong winds to the ground.

Once the storms reached our area, there were continuously bringing 60+ mph winds to the ground. Here is what the winds looked like as the storm pushed into Lawrence County on Saturday afternoon.

Wind speeds from the thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon.

These winds caused damage to trees, powerlines, homes and businesses. There are still locations Monday afternoon with no power and the power may not be restored in those areas until Wednesday. Here are the maximum windspeeds across the region from Saturday. Keep in mind that these are only what was reported to the National Weather Service. There were severe winds in places that are not on this list.

LocationWind Speed
Ashtabula County72 MPH
Geauga County62 MPH
Venango County61 MPH
Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport61 MPH
Mercer County58 MPH
Lawrence County54 MPH
Carroll County54 MPH
Beaver County53 MPH
Butler County53 MPH
Maximum reported wind speeds across the Valley on Saturday.

Thankfully, there will be a break in the storms for the next few days. There is another chance for thunderstorms this coming Saturday. Check out what to expect in the 7-day forecast.