US monthly weather records shattered during 2012 drought

Natural Resources Defense Council releases extreme weather mapping tool

Thousands of monthly weather records were broken in communities throughout the U.S. in 2012, according to an updated interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review released by the Natural Resources Defense Council. 2012 tallies reveal even more monthly weather records set than the 3,251 records broken in 2011, with record-breaking heat, rainfall and snow events catalogued by state.

New in 2013, the interactive map will also rank all 50 states by their percentage of weather stations reporting at least one monthly heat record broken in 2012. The top 10 states to be highlighted are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Some of the extreme events recorded include:

  • 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate report.
  • Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge height, 13.88 feet, broke the all-time record in the New York Harbor, and ravaged communities across New Jersey and New York with floodwaters and winds. 
  • The summer of 2012 was the worst drought in 50 years across the nation’s breadbasket, with over 1,300 U.S. counties across 29 states declared drought disaster areas.
  • The hottest March on record in the contiguous U.S., and July was the hottest single month ever recorded in the lower 48 states. 
  • Wildfires burned over 9.2 million acres in the U.S., and destroyed hundreds of homes.