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US experienced warmest 12-month period on record


A man tries to cool himself with a bottle of water during the first heat wave of the year June 9, 2008 in New York City


Spencer Platt

According to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States just experienced its hottest 12-month period ever. 

In the report NOAA found, "Several warm periods across the contiguous US during April brought the national average temperature to 55°F, 3.6°F above average, marking the third warmest April on record. These temperatures, when added with the first quarter and previous 11 months, calculate to the warmest year-to-date and 12-month periods since recordkeeping began in 1895."

Overall, the nation was 2.8 degrees hotter over 12 months. 

The Washington Post reported, in the last 12 months the US, "has experienced its second hottest summer, fourth warmest winter (December through February) and warmest March on record." April 2012 was also third warmest on record.

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Jake Crouch, the Lead researcher of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told, "We were expecting the 12-month period to be warm, but I was somewhat surprised to see it record warm."

According to the NOAA report, "Eight states — Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — had average April temperatures cooler than their March temperatures. However, these temperatures were still above the long-term average for the month."

Crouch told, the next big weather story 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."

A highlight from the reported noted, "According to the US Drought Monitor, as of May 1st, 38.2 percent of the contiguous United States was experiencing drought conditions, an increase from the 31.9 percent at the beginning of 2012."

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