September 2012: Warm and Dry Across the U.S.
October 9, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
It might not come as a surprise that September marked the 16th consecutive month with above average temperatures for the contiguous U.S. Dryness also expanded across the U.S. in September.
September 2012 averaged 67 degrees, which is almost 1.5 degrees above the 20th century average. It also tied 1980 as the 23rd warmest September on record.
The warm bubble of air resided in the West. September 2012 was one of the top ten warmest for California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. In contrast, temperatures were below average in the Midwest and Ohio Valley. The cool temperatures in the Ohio Valley were helped by above average rainfall.
Near-record dry weather was found in the Northwest, northern Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest. As a matter of fact, several states from Washington to Wisconsin had one of their top ten driest months on record. The warm and dry weather in the West fueled above-average wildfire activity with 1.1-million acres burning in September. This ranks as the third most on record for September.
By late September, 64.6-percent of the contiguous U.S. was in a moderate-to-exceptional drought. The central and northern Plains saw increasingly drier conditions develop in September.
Putting things in perspective for the year so far, January to September was the warmest first nine months of any year on record for the U.S. This year also ranks as the 11th driest so far with precipitation at 1.98 inches below the average of 22.67 inches.
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