NOAA: 2017 Third Warmest Year on Record for U.S.

The U.S. saw a rise in overall temperature for the 21st consecutive year in 2017.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was also the fifth straight year of above-average precipitation.

According to NOAA's Jake Crouch, the average U.S. temperature was 54.6 degrees, making 2017 the third warmest on record.

“The average temperature for the lower 48 was about 2.6 degrees fahrenheit above-average, and those above-average temperatures did span the nation with above-average conditions from coast-to-coast,” says Crouch.

“Texas in 2017 did have its second warmest year on record,” he says.  “A lot of that warmth occurred during not hot parts of the year, so spring and autumn were fairly warm in Texas, whereas the summer itself was not that exceptionally hot.”

But he stopped short of blaming warmer temperatures for causing three major hurricanes, eight severe storms, wildfires and drought.

“It's hard for us to pinpoint that climate change was the direct factor in any of the particular events that occurred, but these extreme events are what are expected in the future.”

Precipitation totaling more than 32 inches made it the 20th wettest year on record.  Even so, NOAA projects expanded drought conditions for much of northern and western Texas in 2018.

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