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Hottest Periods on Record for U.S. May 18, 2012
NOAA climate graphics
“These temperatures, when added with the first quarter and previous 11 months, calculate to the warmest year-to-date and 12-month periods since record-keeping began in 1895.” — NOAA
The United States has just undergone the hottest 12-month period ever recorded, according to the environment agency NOAA.

While the Pacific Northwest and northern parts of California were actually much cooler than normal over the past year, a vast stretch of the Midwest and East were acutely warm and dry.

NOAA said that from May 2011 to April 2012, the average temperature in the lower 48 states was 55.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.8 degrees above the 20th-century average.

The first four months of 2012 were also the warmest on record, with the average temperature for the contiguous states reaching 5.4 degrees above normal.

April marked the 326th month in a row that was warmer than last century’s long-term average.

Graphic Data: NOAA