In an announcement Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2015 was the second-hottest year on record for the United States, with an average temperature of 54.4° Fahrenheit, 2.4° over last century’s average. Montana, Florida, Oregon, and Washington had a record warm year. The month of December hit record temperatures 6° above last century’s average.
It was also one of the wettest years on record, coming in third with 4.53 inches of precipitation above average. But rainfall, snow, and sleet were not universally high. While the middle of the country and the Southeast had more precipitation than average, the Northeast and the Western United States—still experiencing epic drought—received less. Oklahoma and Texas broke records, with floods to match. There was some good news though: The area impacted by drought decreased by about 10 percent nationally.
This year, ten weather- and climate-related disasters—reading like a list of plagues: drought, flood, wildfires, and severe storms—cost $1 billion and 155 lives. The U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which keeps tabs on extreme climate events, was at 70 in 2015.
NOAA will release the full annual report January 13.