MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you thought 2012 was warmer than usual, it wasn’t your imagination. The National Climatic Data Center announced the 2012 average annual temperature of 55.3 degrees was the warmest year ever recorded for the contiguous United States.
The 55.3 degree annual temperature was 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average and 1 degree warmer than the previous record warm year of 1998. Overall, the NCDC said the long-term temperature in the U.S. has increased about 0.13 degrees per decade since 1895.
The NCDC reported that every state in the contiguous U.S. had annual temperatures above average, a 19 states had annual temperatures which were record warm. According to the NCDC, Florida’s temperature was ranked as tied for the 8th warmest year on record.
The climate report found that the summer months, June-August, recorded the second warmest temperature average ever recorded in the U.S. just behind the summer of 2011.
But it wasn’t just the heat that was impacting the U.S. The nation also had a much drier than average years with below-average precipitation totals stretching from the Intermountain West to the Southeast.
Overall, precipitation averaged around 26.57 inches, which was 2.57 inches below the 20th century average. Historically speaking, 2012 ranked as the 15th driest year on record dating to 1895.
The precipitation didn’t always extend to snowfall as the NCDC said the warmer and drier than average conditions resulted in the third smallest winter snow cover extent on record the contiguous U.S.