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2012 Expected to be Warmest Year on Record for U.S.

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- This year will probably overtake 1998 to become the warmest year on record in the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its monthly climate report.

The first 11 months of 2012 were the warmest start to any year in the contiguous 48 states since the U.S. began keeping records in 1895, NOAA’s Climatic Data Center reported today. The average national temperature for the period was 57.1 degrees Fahrenheit (13.9 Celsius), 1 degree above the old mark set in 1934 and 3.3 degrees above the average for the 20th century, the agency said.

For all of 1998, the average temperature was 54.3 degrees.

“It appears virtually certain that 2012 will surpass the current record as the warmest year for the nation,” the Asheville, North Carolina-based center said. December temperatures would have to be lower by 1 degree than the coldest average for the month on record, in 1983, for the year not to set a new mark.

The U.S. autumn, which for meteorologists was from September through November, was the 21st warmest on record. The period was drier than normal for much of the central U.S. and Southeast, the agency said.

Only eight of the lower 48 states, along the West Coast and across the north from Washington through Minnesota, had average or above-normal rainfall during November.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charlotte Porter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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