2012 still tracking toward hottest year on record

Slight August cool down brings some relief to central U.S.

Hot summer in the West!
Hot in the West, normal in the central U.S. and cooler than average in parts of the Southeast.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After a blistering July, temperatures nationwide eased in August, averaging to 74.4 degrees across the contiguous U.S. and ranking the month as the 16th warmest August on record. Combined with the hottest July ever recorded and above-average readings in June, The summer of 2012 will go down as the third-hottest since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

August 2012 ranked as the 11th hottest on record, while just to the West, Utah recorded its second-hottest August, and Nevada its hottest on record.

The warm end to the summer also kept the U.S. on track to be the warmest year on record, with temperatures for the January to August period averaging 4 degrees above the 20th century average, and 1 full degree above the previous record year 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 warmest temperatures were focused across the West, where Nevada tied its all-time warmest August, 4 degrees above the historic average. Six other states in the West reported average August temps among their top-10, while the Northeast also was above average, with five states recording top-ten August temperatures.

By contrast, the central U.S. and the Southeast cooled off considerably, with below-average readings in the Ohio Valley. There were 2,000 record low readings set, many in the Upper Midwest — but hose record lows were far outnumbered by 4,200 record highs set across the country.

Some of the hottest readings came from Oklahoma City, where temps at Will Rogers International Airport set or tied all-time highs three days in a row, Aug. 1, Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, reaching 112, 112, and 113 degrees on those days.

The hot and dry conditions across the West brought more wildfires, with 3.6 million acres burned, as the seasonal totals increased to above the 10-year rolling average during August. The acreage burned was nearly twice the August average and the most in the 12-year period of record.

Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for August 2012, published online September 2012, retrieved on September 10, 2012 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/8.


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