2016 was second warmest year on record in nation
Last year will be remembered as warmer than average for much of the nation, and depending on where you live, 2016 was either parched, soggy – or both.
To understand how, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, on Jan. 9 released its U.S. “climate by the numbers” summary for 2016.
For the full year, from January through December, the average U.S. temperature in 2016 was 54.9 degrees F, which was 2.9 degrees F above average.
With those readings, NOAA reported that 2016 ranked as the second warmest year in 122 years of record keeping.
This was the 20th consecutive year the annual average temperature exceeded the average.
Every state in the contiguous United States and Alaska experienced above-average annual temperatures, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Precipitation for the year totaled 31.70 inches, ranking as the 24th wettest year.
The national drought footprint expanded from about 18 percent in January to about 23 percent by the end of December.
At just under 19 percent, the average area of drought in the U.S. for 2016 was the smallest since 2010.
The month of December was near the long-term average for the month, with an average temperature across the contiguous United States of 32.9 degrees F, which was 0.17 of a degree above average.
The northwestern quarter of the contiguous United States was generally cooler than average for the month, while the southern part of the country and the Atlantic Coast states were warmer than average.
The precipitation total for the month was 0.34 of an inch above normal.
NOAA reported that there were 15 billion-dollar disasters in the United States in 2016.
Deadly, extreme weather caused major loss of life and damage last year.
In 2016, the United States experienced 15 weather and climate disasters, each with losses exceeding $1 billion for a total of $46 billion. The disasters claimed a total of 138 lives.
The 2016 disasters included a drought, which affected multiple areas; a wildfire, which affected multiple areas; four inland floods; eight severe storms; and one hurricane, Matthew.
NOAS reported that this was the second highest number of disasters experienced in one year, with double the record number of inland flooding events for one year.
Since 1980, the United States has experienced more than 200 weather and climate disasters that exceeded $1.1 trillion in overall damages.