NOAA: July 2012 marked the hottest month on record for the contiguous United States
Drought expands to cover nearly 63% of the Lower 48; wildfires consume 2 million acres
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6 °F, 3.3 °F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 °F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
During July, the contiguous U.S. averaged a precipitation total of 2.57 inches, which was 0.19 inch below average. Near-record dry conditions were present for the middle of the nation, with the drought footprint expanding to cover nearly 63% of the Lower 48, according the U.S. Drought Monitor, while some areas such as the Gulf Coast and the Southwest had wetter-than-average conditions.
This monthly analysis (summary, full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
U.S. climate highlights - July
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