WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- The United States experienced a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period since record-keeping began in 1895, researchers say.
June temperatures contributed to those records, as the average temperature for the contiguous United States during the month was 71.2 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 degrees above the 20th century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday.
The lower 48 states as a whole experienced the 10th-driest June on record, NOAA said, with a nationally averaged precipitation total of 2.27 inches, 0.62 inch below average.
One exception was Florida, as Tropical Storm Debby slowly traversed the state, delivering 13.16 inches of rain and making it the wettest June on record for the state.
While some states reported precipitation at or near normal, 56.0 percent of the contiguous United States experienced drought conditions -- the largest percentage of the nation experiencing drought conditions in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The figures were reported in NOAA's State of the Climate Report, a collection of monthly summaries prepared by the National Climatic Center recapping climate-related occurrences on a national scale.