By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
(USA TODAY) - The Dust Bowl has been left in the dust.
July was the hottest month in U.S. history, federal scientists announced Wednesday, eclipsing the old record set during the heart of the Dust Bowl in 1936.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in July was 77.6 degrees, which is 3.3?F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation.
The previous warmest month on record was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 degrees.
The worst of the heat was in the Midwest, the Plains, and along the Eastern Seaboard.
Cities such as Denver, Indianapolis and St. Louis all smashed all-time records for their hottest month on record.
The January-July period was also the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the U.S. The national temperature of 56.4 degrees was 4.3 degrees above the long-term average.
Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the seven-month period, except the Pacific Northwest, which was near average.