Yes, you read that right. Data collected by NOAA reveal that the month of March saw a total of 7,755 daytime and 7,515 nighttime record-breaking high temperatures, making last month far and away "the warmest March on record."
The video featured up top shows the locations of each daytime and nighttime record (or tied record) in sequence, over the course of the month. It's absolutely staggering.
For more information, check out NOAA's State of the Climate Report, which reveals that the first three months of 2012 were also the warmest on record for the contiguous U.S., with an average temperature of 42.0°F — that's 6.0°F above the long-term average, and 1.4 degrees higher than the all-time record. According to the Washington Post, these records are usually broken by just one- or two-tenths of a degree.
Other highlights from the report include:
- Twenty-five states, all east of the Rockies, had their warmest first quarter on record, and an additional 16 states had first-quarter temperatures ranking among their ten warmest.
- Numerous cities had a record warm January-March, including Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. No state in the contiguous U.S. had below-average January-March temperatures.
- Alaska had its ninth coolest January-March period; temperatures were 5.2°F below average.
- The nationally-averaged precipitation total for January-March was 0.29 inches below the long-term average. States across the Pacific Northwest and Southern Plains were wetter than average, while the Intermountain West, parts of the Ohio Valley, and the entire Eastern Seaboard were drier than average.
- NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index, an index that tracks the highest 10 percent and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones, was 39 percent, nearly twice the long-term average and the highest value on record for the January-March period. The predominant factor was the large area experiencing extremes in warm daily maximum and minimum temperatures.