This was a record-breaking year for tornadoes across Indiana. National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Ryan says there were 61 confirmed twisters on the ground in 2011.
Ryan says the previous record was 49 tornadoes in one calendar year. That number still is much higher than the average for Indiana – which is only 20 per year. The majority of the tornadic activity occurred in the spring and early summer.
The other weather event of the year was the summer heat wave. Ryan says July was the hottest on record and the temperature in Indianapolis reached 100 degrees twice – once in July and again in September. Ryan says the last time the city reached 100 in July was 1988 while the triple-digit temperature in September was last seen in 1954.
Ryan says the La Nina pattern in the Pacific Ocean is to blame for both instances of volatile weather with the storm track pushed further north than normal, the atmosphere in the spring was more conducive to the severe weather we experienced. Ryan says the same issue dried out the southwestern part of the country which drove dry hot air into the Midwest.