There's a popular saying that goes, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." That holds true for Columbus weather. The entire Ohio river valley enjoys four distinct seasons, each with its own qualities. Winter often is surprisingly mild in Columbus; high temperatures above freezing are the rule rather than the exception, and extreme cold is unusualm but skies can stay gloomy for days at a time.  Spring brings a warm-up, but more rain.  Summer ranges from pleasant to downright steamy, with more sunshine but higher humiditiy.  Fall, many agree, is the best weather season: clear, sunny days with more of a crisp snap in the air as fall moves on, cool nights and low humidity.  Rain is moderate in Columbus, with June and July seeing the brunt of the rainstorms. June usually has more frequent rains, while summer thunderstorms are prevalent in July.

Average Highs, Lows, and Rainfall

 JAN  36  20   2.56
 FEB  41  23  2.07
 MAR  53  32  3.00
 APR  64  40  3.65
 MAY  74  51  4.31
 JUN  82  60  4.01
 JUL  86  64  4.39
 AUG  84  62  4.31
 SEP  78  55  2.93
 OCT  67  43  2.53
 NOV  53  34  3.30
 DEC  41  25  2.97


Packing for Ohio Weather

The key to staying comfortable is to be prepared for several weather conditions, because if your stay is longer than a week, you're sure to see at least two ends of the climatic spectrum. A good raincoat is recommended from April through August, while at least one long-sleeved sweatshirt should be packed no matter what time of year you're travelling. A good hat is also a good defense agains the heat or cold - a visored cap to keep the sun off your face during the summer months, and a knit cap during the colder months to keep you warm. A pair of shorts and a pair of jeans should be packed, regardless of the season - due to the extreme changes in tempurature and climate in Central Ohio. Other than that, pack appropriate to your season of travel and personal needs.

Peak Fall Foliage

With the change in seasons from Summer to Autumn, the dropping temperature causes the leaves to change their colors. Traditionally, this can begin as early as September 1st and end as late as November 1st. Traditionally, peak foliage runs from October 5 - 20, with times coming earlier in the North and later in the South. If the temperature change is slower to come, this provides the best viewing. Several days at or below freezing will pull the chlorophyll from the leaves more quickly, causing leaves to turn brown and fall off before a vivid change. 


Tornados in Columbus are extremely rare, and significant damage from a tornado is even rarer.  Travelers may fear the worst about tornadoes, especially if they hear the tornado siren blaring or they see "Tornado Warning" or "Tornado Watch" on the television screen in their hotel room. A Tornado Watch merely means that conditions are right for a tornado, not that one is nearby. A Tornado Warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has been visually spotted and verified. News updates will be available as to sighting locations on both radio and television, so keep updated through the media.

Truly, tornadoes do not offer the threats as great as those that befell Kansas of the Wicked Witch of the West, but those in the vicinity of the tornadoes should still be cautious and aware.  If, possible, tune into a local weather station on TV, or the radio to get a weather bulletin.   The tell-tale sign of tornadoes include the funnel-shapped or swirling clouds in the sky, accompanied by the sound of an approaching train when a tornado is within a quarter-mile. If a tornado is suspected, assume the worst. Immediately head for the lowest available point in any building or area and take cover in a central bahtroom area or beneath a doorway, using a mattress to cover the body and protect from both flying glass and falling building structures.