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NOAA: July 2012 Hottest Month Ever For U.S.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – July 2012 will be a landmark month for meteorologists and climatologists. According to NOAA, July was the hottest month on record for the United States dating back to 1895.

The average temperature in July was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 3.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. The previous hottest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average temperature was 77.4 degrees.

NOAA said thanks to the heat in July, the last 12 months have been the warmest the United States has experienced since recordkeeping started in 1895.

According to NOAA's numbers, the largest temperature departures happened across much of the plains, the Midwest, and along the eastern seaboard. The state of Virginia recorded it warmest July in history with an average temperature 4 degrees above the normal average.

The record warmth also hit the nation's crop harvest hard. The U.S. Drought Monitor found 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions at the end of July. That was an increase of 6.9 percent compared to June.

Additionally, the first seven months of the year were the warmest seven months of any year on record for the contiguous U.S. The overall national temperature average during that time was 56.4 degrees, or 4.3 degrees above average.

The numbers come from the State of the Climate released Wednesday by the NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center.

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