It's getting hot out there. The 12-month period from May 2011 to April 2012 was the warmest since records began in 1895, according to the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The year-long stretch was 0.1°F warmer than the previous record-setter, November 1999-October 2000, and was 2.8°F warmer than the average May-April period over the last century, reports the Washington Post. NOAA scientists say that because last May was abnormally cool, the 12-month record will probably be broken as soon as next month.
The NOAA's April climate report found temperature records being broken around the country, with the US as a whole recording its third-warmest April, and no fewer than 332 locations hitting their warmest April temperature on record. "The big story moving forward," the agency's lead researcher tells MSNBC, could be "lack of precipitation and the development of drought going into summer and the agricultural growing season. Some of the regions we are keeping an eye on: the Southeast, the Southern Rockies and Southern Plains, and the Northeast." (Read more weather stories.)