Sometimes headlines really do say all that needs to be said:
The big stories are the heat and drought:
- The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month led to at least 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied. The June temperatures contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
- According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 3, 56.0 percent of the contiguous U.S. experienced drought conditions, marking the largest percentage of the nation experiencing drought conditions in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
How off-the-charts has the last year been? NOAA has done the math:
- During the June 2011-June 2012 period, each of the 13 consecutive months ranked among the warmest third of their historical distribution for the first time in the 1895-present record. The odds of this occurring randomly is 1 in 1,594,323.