The hottest on record, in fact, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and that's not all. The year 2012 was also characterized by weather significantly more extreme than usual.
In a report published today, NOAA said that the average temperature across the nation was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, a full degree higher than the previous record year of 1998 and 3.2 degrees above the 20th century average.
Spring was the biggest driver of the year's heat, with temperatures during that season setting a record. The summer was the second-hottest on record, the winter was fourth-warmest in known history, and the fall was warmer than average.
It was so hot in the United States last year that every state in the contiguous part of the nation set a temperature record. Moreover, 19 states had a year that set a warmth record.
All that heat took a toll on snow, too. The nation experienced its third-smallest snowpack ever, while the central and southern Rocky Mountain region received less than half of its historic average snowfall.
As for total precipitation, there was less than usual. The year was the 15th driest on record for the United States as the country received, on average, 26.57 inches through the course of 2012. It was the driest year since 1988.
The weather was crazy in 2012, too. NOAA also announced that there were 19 named tropical storms in the north Atlantic during the year, which included ten hurricanes. That made 2012 the third-most active year for tropical storms in history.
Landlubbers fared little better. By July, fully 61 percent of the nation was in drought condition and more than 9 million acres burned.
Tornadoes, however, were less frequent than average during the past year, with the number the lowest since 2002.
The report is here.
Graphic of selected climate extremes courtesy NOAA.
Graphic of significant U.S. weather and climate events courtesy NOAA.