Winter storms in February improved drought in the Southeast and Midwest, but well below average precipitation in parts of the West in recent months has worsened drought in other places.

The average temperature for the contiguous United States for 2012 was 55.3° Fahrenheit, which was 3.2° Fahrenheit above the twentieth-century average and 1.0° Fahrenheit above the previous record from 1998.

Temperature anomaly map

Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation and contributed to the warmest March in the contiguous United States since records began in 1895. The average temperature was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March. In the past 117 years, only one month (January 2006) has ever been so much warmer than its average temperature.

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