Hot as Hell: That Was the Warmest First Half of Any Year in U.S. History

heat wave climate
Public Domain. USFWS

USFWS/Public Domain

There's little reason to bother with a recap, but: there were heat waves, there were wildfires, there was something called a derecho. Yeah, the weather's been so bizarre that it introduced a new word for 'windstorm' into the American vernacular. It gave rise to a host of manmade natural disasters.

There are still wildfires. There's still record-breaking heat. Bottom line: It's effing hot out.

It's not your imagination, either, and you can tell gramps and George Will to can the 'back in my day' elocutions. Because it's hotter now than it ever has been before in the United States.

The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration has just released its annual State of the Climate report, and the word is in: It's been the hottest January-June period in recorded in the contiguous U.S. It has also been the hottest June-June period in U.S. history.

noaa climate change

NOAA/Public Domain

Here's the takeaway:

The January-June period was the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 52.9°F was 4.5°F above average. Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the six-month period, except the Pacific Northwest. Twenty-eight states east of the Rockies were record warm and an additional 15 states were top ten warm.

Some more fun stats from the scorched US:

  • The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average.
  • Record-breaking temperatures occurred across a large portion of the nation during the second half of June. Over 170 all-time warm temperature records were broken or tied during the month.
  • Temperatures in South Carolina (113°F) and Georgia (112°F) are currently under review by the U.S. State Climate Extremes Committee as possible all-time statewide temperature records.
  • The very dry, warm, and windy weather created ideal wildfire conditions. Nationwide, wildfires scorched over 1.3 million acres, the second most on record during June.
noaa heat


It doesn't get any clearer than this. These are all-time records being broken; these are temps that are hotter than any experienced by Americans generations back, hotter than any point since we started plopping thermometers across the nation. Let's get real here; this is climate change, and this will be utterly normal before long.