With little rain in the forecast, Columbus is on drought watch

Illustration of the hot emoji as a sun.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The trace amounts of rain that fell during this weekend's pop-up storms weren't enough to quench our region.

Driving the news: Most of Central Ohio is abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. We haven't had measurable rainfall since May 20, 17 days ago — and the forecast isn't looking great for the foreseeable future.

Columbus' allergy season is getting longer and worse

Data: Climate Central; Chart: Axios Visuals

If you're feeling drowsy and sneezing more often lately, you're not alone.

Driving the news: On average, Columbus' allergy season is 30 days longer now than it was in 1970, per an analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate news organization.

Maybe Columbus' air isn't so bad, after all

Data: EPA; Note: A concentration below 12 micrograms per cubic meter is considered healthy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Our region's air quality, as measured by fine particle pollution, has improved significantly since 2000, according to EPA data.

Why it matters: The data, analyzed by Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj, offers a different take from a March report using 2022 data by Swiss technology company IQAir that dubbed Columbus the country's "most polluted major U.S. city."

Ohio-native flower suggestions for your garden

A field of Ohio wildflowers, blue asters and yellow Black-eyed Susans

A meadow of blue asters and black-eyed Susans, both native to Ohio. Photo: myLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

April is Native Plant Month in Ohio.

Why it matters: Native plants require less maintenance and provide valuable food and shelter for pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies.

Climate change is shifting Columbus' growing season

A gardener spreads compost around a Pasque flower. Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's the start of the spring planting season. But what we plant in Ohio — and when — could look different in the coming decades due to climate change.

Threat level: The projected shift could be so drastic that our iconic state tree, the buckeye, would fare better in cooler climates … Up North. Unfathomable.

How to celebrate Earth Day in Central Ohio

Illustration of a small group of people lifting up a giant Earth.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ahead of Earth Day on Saturday, here are some events where you can care for and celebrate our planet (free unless noted):

🌳 Browse volunteer opportunities through Green Columbus and local nonprofit Besa, including litter cleanups, park beautification and tree planting.

What recent tornado trends mean for Central Ohio

Illustration of an hourglass with a tornado and lightning in the top portion

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

When most people think of tornadoes, Central Ohio doesn't typically come to mind — at least not yet.

Driving the news: A staggering 410 tornadoes were reported in the U.S. from January to March 2023, per the National Weather Service's preliminary count. That's the most recorded since tracking began in 1950, the second highest was 398 in 2017.


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