National Climate Report - Annual 2012
Divisional Temperature Departures and Evolution of Drought
Below is an animated sequence of monthly temperature departures from average. Shades of blue indicate where below normal temperatures occurred and shades of red indicate where above normal temperatures occurred. The more extreme temperature departures are in the darker shades. Temperatures were above the 1981-2010 average in most months across most of the the contiguous United States, most notably in March. Conversely, temperatures were below normal throughout much of the CONUS in October, which broke a streak of 16 consecutive months with contiguous U.S. temperatures above the long-term average (June 2011-September 2012). For the annual period, areas of the country that experienced the largest departures from normal were much of the Central and Northern Plains stretching into the Northern Rockies as well as parts of the Northeast. Only the coastal area of the Pacific Northwest had below normal temperatures in 2012.
This is a drought animation based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. The color scales depict the intensity of the drought. Shades are scaled from yellow, indicative of abnormally dry drought conditions, to shades of red and brown, indicative of extreme to exceptional drought conditions. While drought conditions improved in the southern Plains, they worsened in the central and northern Plains, as well as the Midwest. The year started out with 31.9 percent of the CONUS in moderate to exceptional drought. At the end of September, the percentage of the country experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought peaked at about 65.5 percent and ended the year at 61.1 percent.