September 2012 was the 23rd warmest September on record for the contiguous 48 states, reported the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in a “State of the Climate” report released Tuesday.
This past September was also the driest on record for Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. It was among the top-10 driest months for six surrounding states.
Last month’s warm temperatures helped make the year-to-date period (January through September 2012) the warmest such period on record for the contiguous 48 states, surpassing the old record by 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, this past January through September had the highest average high temperatures on record at W. Kerr Scott Dam. Records at the dam go back to the early 1960s.
Even if the rest of 2012 ends up being in the coldest one-third on record for the period October to December 2012 will still surpass 1998 for being the warmest year on record in the United States.
The first week of October has been one of the coldest weeks of the year, compared to average, with record cold lows outpacing record warm highs by a ratio of four-to-one in the contiguous 48 states.
Next week is expected to be warmer than average for the United States, making it highly unlikely that October 2012 will rank among the coldest one-third of Octobers on record.
The 12 months from October 2011 to September 2012 was the warmest such 12-month period on record for the contiguous 48 states and was the third warmest 12-month period on record.
The six warmest 12-month periods in records going back to 1895 all ended during 2012.