Much warmer than normal conditions covered the country from coast to coast last month, and the Lower 48 registered its second warmest September on record.
Only September 1998 was warmer.
“Record and near-record warmth spanned most of the country, with nine states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest record warm,” reported NOAA, which released its September State of the Climate report today for the U.S..
High pressure prevailed over large expanses of the Lower 48 which kept conditions not only warmer than normal but also on the dry side. September precipitation averaged across the country was 0.4 inches below normal, equating to the 21st driest on record for the month. The driest conditions compared to normal focused in the south central U.S.
The warm conditions in September extended a warm 2015, which year-to-date ranks as the eighth warmest on record. The warmest conditions relative to normal this year have focused along the West Coast which have averaged more than 4 degrees above normal. Nine states in the West are having their warmest year on record so far.
California, in particular, has seen temperatures at unprecedented levels this year in the modern record.
“It’s a totally new environment out there,” tweeted Eric Holthaus, meteorologist for Slate.com.
2015’s warmth in the U.S., while not as acute, is part and parcel with the warmth observed around the world. Earth’s average temperature in 2015 is on pace to shatter 2014’s mark for warmest on record.