Professor’s work with severe weather to appear in online exhibit next week

Lisa Moore

A Kent State professor’s work will be featured in an online exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society honoring Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Thomas Schmidlin, meteorologist and professor of geography at Kent State, is the coauthor of the book Thunder in the Heartland: A Chronicle of Outstanding Weather Events in Ohio that will be featured Sunday through April 1 in the online exhibit at

Thunder in the Heartland tells the stories of about 200 severe and outstanding weather events in Ohio over the last 150-plus years,” Schmidlin said.

Schmidlin and his wife, Jeanne Schmidlin, coauthor of the book, did research for Thunder in the Heartland using archives and libraries.

Schmidlin came to Kent State in 1985 and has been a geography professor for 21 years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Iowa State in 1977. In 1984, he continued his education at Cornell where he received his doctorate in meteorology.

“My work as a meteorologist has always been research and teaching at universities,” Schmidlin said.

The March 1913 flood that killed 467 people in Ohio, and the Lorain tornado that killed more than 80 people in 1924 are among the deadliest weather events Schmidlin has researched in his years of studying severe weather.

“I have researched tornado disasters nationally for 10 years but always after the tornado struck,” Schmidlin said. “I did research during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 measuring winds near the Virginia Coast.”

Lightning strikes and strong winds have always drawn Schmidlin toward the action, he said.

“I have always liked reading about weather and seeing it when I had a chance,” he said. “I have become more interested in how society is affected by severe weather and how we can prepare for severe weather.”

Schmidlin will be teaching a natural disasters course in the fall.

Contact news correspondent Lisa Moore at [email protected].