From January to November 2012, the average temperature in the United States was 57.1 degrees F (13.9 degrees C).
Nearly every month of 2012 was warmer than in nearly every one of the years recorded since 1895, when reliable record-keeping began.
After 2012, the record-holders for warmest years are 1998, 2006, 1934, 1999 and 1921. The five coolest years on average are 1903, 1924, 1895, 1912 and 1917.
Only record-breaking cold in December could prevent 2012 from taking the title as hottest year. Temperatures in December would have to be more than 1.0 degree F (0.55 degrees C) colder than the coldest-ever December for 2012 to not break the record.
The coldest December occurred in 1983, when the nation’s average temperature dropped to 25.54 degrees F (minus 3.59 degrees C).
In November warmer-than-average conditions prevailed in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
November 2012 was also the 8th driest November on record. The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 1.19 inches was 0.93 inch below the long-term average. A report on Nov. 27th declared that 62.7 percent of the contiguous United States was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, up from October.