2007 May Rank in Top 10 Warmest Years

This year may be listed of the 10 warmest years for the contiguous U.S., since national records began in 1895, according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

The year was marked by exceptional drought in the U.S. Southeast and the West, which helped fuel another extremely active wildfire season. The year also brought outbreaks of cold air, killer heat waves and floods. Meanwhile, the global surface temperature for 2007 is expected to be fifth-warmest since records began in 1880. Preliminary data will be updated in early January to reflect the final three weeks of December and is not considered final until a full analysis is complete next spring.

The preliminary annual average temperature for 2007 across the contiguous United States will likely be near 54.3 degrees Fahrenheit; the twentieth century average is 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This currently establishes 2007 as the eighth warmest on record. Only February and April were cooler-than-average, while March and August were second warmest in the 113-year record.

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