PUBLISHED: 17:02 EST, 7 June 2012 | UPDATED: 17:02 EST, 7 June 2012
So far, 2012 has been the hottest year on record for the United States, with temperatures five degrees above normal across the country.
New climate data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells a story that most Americans already know: This past winter was unseasonably warm and spring has been downright hot.
Spring was the warmest in over 100 years.
Between March and May the average temperature was 57 degrees — two degrees hotter than the previous record set in 1910.
So far this year, 29 states east of the Rocky Mountains have had the hottest five months since the NOAA began keeping track.
Another 14 states have experienced temperatures that are among the top ten hottest in the books.
All the high temperatures, combined with a pair of unseasonably early tropical storms in the southeast, have made 2012 the most volatile year on record, as well.
NOAA’s Climate Extremes Indicator, a tool government forecasters use to measure how far from normal the weather is, was the highest it’s ever been.
The last 12 months, counting from June 2011, also set heat records.
Most of the US was also drier than average this spring, with part of the Northeast experiencing drought conditions — rare for for season.
This was likely due in part to the scant snowfall that fell throughout the winter. Spring snow-cover was one of the sparsest on record.
The lack of rainfall in New Mexico is being blamed for the massive wildfire that ravaged Gila National Forest. It was the largest blaze in the state’s history.
A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR WEATHER IN THE UNITED STATES
- Hottest January to June period on record, with an average temperature of 49.2 degrees — five degrees above normal
- Most extreme weather since records began in 1910, according to the Climate Extremes Index
- Two tropical storms formed off the southeast coast in May, the first that’s ever happened
- Largest wildfire in New Mexico’s history burned up Gila National Forest because of drought
- Hottest 12 months, May 2011 to June 2012, of any 12-month period on record
- Spring was the hottest ever, breaking a record set in 1910