2012 warmest on record for US, had historic extremes
WASHINGTON (AFP) - 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States and was also the second most extreme ever, the US government agency charged with monitoring weather events, said on Tuesday.
The hot weather contributed to a record drought which, at its peak, parched 61 per cent of the nation, destroyed crops worth billions and slowed shipping on the mighty Mississippi River as water levels reached historic lows.
Those dry conditions helped spark massive wildfires that charred 9.2 million acres, the third highest annual figure on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
The nation suffered through 11 weather disasters that caused US$1 billion (S$1.22 billion) in damage or more, including hurricanes Sandy and Isaac and deadly tornado outbreaks in the Great Plains, Texas and the Ohio Valley.