So far, 2012 is tracking to be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental United States, according to the most recent report from the National Climatic Data Center.
"The January-August period was the warmest first eight months of any year on record for the contiguous United States," the agency said in its report. "The national temperature of 58.7°F was 4.0°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record warm January-August of 2006. During the eight-month period, 33 states were record warm and an additional 12 states were top ten warm. Only Washington had statewide temperatures near average for the period."
The report by the climate center, which is operated by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, also states that the summer of 2012 is the third-hottest summer since 1895, when climatic record-keeping in the U.S. began, and that July of this year was the hottest July ever.
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Temperatures nationally averaged 74.4 degrees, which was 2.3 degrees higher than average, and nationally-averaged summer rainfall of 7.39 inches was .86 inches below average, making the summer of 2012 the 18th driest on record so far for the contiguous United States, the report says.