WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government meteorologists say 2012 was by far the hottest year on record in the United States.
The average temperature was off the charts at over 55 degrees. That's a full degree warmer than the previous record of 1998. Normally, temperature records are broken by about a tenth of a degree.
Scientists blame the heat on global warming and weather variations. That includes the drought that gripped almost two-thirds of the nation.
Last July was also the hottest month on record. The entire year was 3.2 degrees warmer than the average for the 20th century.
The tally was released Tuesday by the National Climatic Data Center.
U.S. temperature records go back to 1895. They're based on reports from more than 1,200 stations across the Lower 48 states.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.