Another warmer-than-average November is prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to announce that 2012 is "virtually certain" to be the warmest year on record, or 140 years of record keeping, in the contiguous United States.
December 2012 temperatures would need to be more than 1 degree F colder than the coldest December (1983) for 2012 to not break the record.
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during November was 44.1 degrees, 2.1 degrees above the 20th century average, tying 2004 as the 20th-warmest November on record.
The period of January-November was the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. It was also the 12th-driest such period on record for the contiguous United States, with a precipitation total 3.08 inches below the long-term average of 26.91 inches.
Even though it was a wet start to the month for several states, November 2012 went into the record books as the second-driest since 1895.
The December 2011-November 2012 period was the warmest such 12-month period on record for the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 55.2 degrees, 3.2 degrees above average. This 12-month temperature average was the sixth-warmest of any 12-month period on record for the contiguous United States. The eight warmest 12-month periods have all ended during 2012.