Looking Back at 2011: Year was warmer and stormier than usual

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Despite this recent cold snap, 2012 started off unusually warm with a new year's day high in the mid 60s. This is a trend that continued from last year when we saw many warmer than average days.

2011 was our 4th warmest year on record with an average high of 60.77 degrees. It's interesting that there have only been eight other times in over 130 years of record keeping where we've seen an average annual temperature of 60 degrees or higher.

2011 was not only warm, it was stormy. More than 30 tornadoes touched down in Virginia, well above what we typically see. The first significant outbreak occurring on April 16th, another followed soon after on April 27th and 28th. In the fall, more damage was produced by tornadoes in Louisa and New Kent Counties on October 13th.

Hurricane Irene was the first hurricane to strike the United States in three years...and this "I" storm had its sights set on Virginia, much like Isabel did back in 2003. Four people died and more than a million Virginia homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm.

Despite some temporary dry spells during the summer, rainfall in 2011 was plentiful with 47.54" recorded, that's a surplus of nearly four inches.

So what's ahead of us in 2012? Well, warmer and mainly dry weather is expected in the short term.

Down the road, there are clear indications of more arctic air building in Canada that could move our way by the middle of the month....stay tuned!

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.