This spring was the warmest on record in the U.S., reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warm spring also contributed to the warmest 12-month period on record, and the warm spring came on the heels of the historic 2011 drought that ravaged the southwest.
For the year ended May 31, every state in the contiguous U.S. had above-average temperatures except Washington, which was near normal. Forty-two states had top-10 warmest springs, with the period setting records in 31 states
The spring of 2012 was 5.2 degrees warmer than average, and that is the largest temperature variance for any season on record. According to NOAA’s State of the Climate report, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during May was 64.3 F, 3.3 F. above the long-term average, making it the second warmest on record. NOAA’s records date back to 1895.
National average temperature for the March-May season was 57.1 F., or 5.2 F. higher than the 1901-2000 long-term average. The 2012 spring surpassed the previous warmest spring in 1910 by 2.0 F. Additionally, each month of this spring (March, April, May) all ranked as top-ten warm.
NOAA also noted that May was the second warmest on record at 64.3 degrees, and January-May was the warmest stretch for those months on record with an average temperature of 49.2 degrees, 5 degrees above the long-term average.
Along with the warm temperatures, drought is again becoming a nationwide concern. Precipitation totals across the country were mixed during May, with the nation as a whole being drier than average. The coastal Southeast received some drought relief when Tropical Storm Beryl brought heavy rains to the region late in the month.
The persistent drought that plagued Texas last year has now slowly expanded to other areas of the United States. (For complete drought coverage see Drought dominates Corn Belt in La Niña’s wake.
Kansas City has experienced a drier-than-average spring, and local meterorologist Gary Lezak is not optimistic that conditions will change soon. “With this weather pattern that we have been in, it has become increasingly difficult to be optimistic when it comes to looking for possible rain events,” Lezak wrote in his blog Thursday. “This dry pattern that has been evolving over our area shows no real signs of breaking.”