2016 was USA's second-warmest year on record

2016 was the USA's second-warmest year on record, scientists announced Monday.

The nationwide average temperature last year was 54.9 degrees, which is almost 3 degrees above normal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Only 2012 was warmer, NOAA said.

It was the 20th straight year that the nation was warmer-than-average.

While all 50 states were much warmer-than-average, only two — Alaska and Georgia — were record warm.

"The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation's climate history," NOAA said in a statement. "No other year had as many states breaking or close to breaking their warmest annual average temperature."

As for precipitation, five states (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Louisiana) had much-above-average amounts of rain or snow. Four states (Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts and Connecticut) had much below-average precipitation.

Also in 2016 there were 15 separate weather disasters that each topped $1 billion in damages. That's the second-most on record, one less than the 16 that slammed the nation in 2011.

The disasters included 8 severe storms, 4 floods, a hurricane, a drought and a wildfire, NOAA said.

Global temperature data will be released on Jan.18. It's likely that 2016 was the Earth's warmest year on record, based on preliminary data.


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