2012 Warmest Year Ever for Continental US

And had the second most extreme weather
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2013 2:16 PM CST
2012 Warmest Year Ever for Continental US
In this Aug. 8, 2012, file photo, dark clouds from a passing thunderstorm hang over a dry cornfield in Blair, Neb.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The past year was the hottest on record for the 48 contiguous states in the US, the NOAA announced today, featuring the warmest spring ever, the second warmest summer, the fourth warmest winter, and an above-average autumn. Overall, the average temperature was 55.3 degrees F, or 3.2 degrees F above the 20th-century average. If that wasn't enough, it also the second-most extreme year on record, based on the US Climate Extremes Index, which takes into account factors like tropical storms, precipitation, and extreme temperatures.

The index came in at almost twice its average level, which makes sense given that 2012 saw 11 disasters that caused more than $1 billion in damage. Precipitation was significantly below average, as you might expect given the massive drought that hit much of the country this summer. The warmth also helped cause the drought; the lack of snow kept the soil dry, and the warm spring pushed up the growing season, draining what water there was from the soil faster. (Read more weather stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.