“Hottest,” “warmest”: We’ve heard those two words and other superlatives over and over this year about the weather.
Unfortunately, July was as hot as ever.
Warmest and Hottest
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that this July was the hottest on record and also the hottest month in the contiguous US on record. 77.6°F was the average temperature in the contiguous US, which is 3.3°F above the 20th century average. The last time it was almost as hot (77.4°F) in July was back in 1936.
The first seven months of 2012 were the warmest ever on record in the lower 48. The US has now been in its warmest 12-month period since record-keeping began in 1895.
Virginia experienced its hottest July on record, with temperatures 4.0°F above average.
If you live in the Northeast as I do, you’ve lived through the hottest year so far.
Overall, the first seven months of 2012 were the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the contiguous US, with temperatures averaging 56.4°F, 4.3°F above the long-term average. The same January-July period in 2012 was also drier than average.
The twelve-month period from August 2011-July 2012 was the hottest ever in the contiguous US with only Washington having near, rather than above, average temperatures.
Driest and Wettest
July was drier than average across the Central Plains and the Midwest while Maine’s July was its fifth driest.
But July was the fifth wettest for California and the eighth wettest for Nevada. The rest of the Southwest also experienced wetter-than-average conditions.
In addition, months that are key for agriculture (May-July) were the second warmest on record and the 12th driest for three-month-period. Nebraska, Kansas, and Arkansas all had record-dry conditions.
62.9 percent of the contiguous US is enduring moderate to exceptional drought according to the July 31, 2012, US Drought Monitor (USDM). Plus, 22 percent of the US — up from 10 percent — is experiencing the worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought), with devastating effects for crops and livestock.
It is getting hotter and, as Care2 blogger Tara Holmes wrote, it’s only going to get even hotter.
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