If you found yourself saying it was “hotter than Hades” often last year, well, you were onto something. 2012 was the warmest year on record for the continental United States, breaking the previous index set in 1998 by a long shot. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that the average temperature of the year was 55.3 degrees—1 degree above the 1998 record and 3.2 degrees hotter than the 20th-century average. 2012 was also the driest year for the U.S. since 1988 and the second-most-extreme-weather year to date, marked by an historic drought in the Midwest, wildfires, and superstorms.
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