December breaks more weather records

The year 2015 may still go down as the hottest on record globally (final results are still being tallied), but NOAA scientists say in the United States, 2012 kept its crown.

Still, there was plenty to talk about on NOAA's monthly media call on January 7. NOAA scientists note 2015 finished out by having the hottest and wettest December on record. From a state-to-state perspective, 29 states had the warmest December on record and two states - Iowa and Wisconsin - had the wettest December on record.

"It was quite an exceptional month in terms of temperature and precipitation," notes NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch.

December also marked the 10th consecutive month of above-average U.S. temperatures, Crouch adds.

"The only month of 2015 with below-average temperatures was February," he says.

For the year, 2015 was a year of temperature flip-flops. In the West, temperatures began record warm but ended relatively cool. And in the East, the year started out with record cold weather but ended with record warm temperatures. Four states - Florida, Montana, Oregon and Washington - saw the warmest year on record.

In regards to precipitation, 2015 was the third-wettest year on record in the U.S. Only 1973 and 1983 were wetter.

NOAA also reported on 10 weather and climate events in the U.S. where losses exceeded $1 billion. This included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, one wildfire and one winter storm. This includes the recent December flooding in the Midwest, the ongoing drought in the West and others.

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