July was the hottest month in the contiguous United States since record-keeping began in 1895, government scientists have said, a trend that meteorologists attribute to climate change.
The searing July heat contributed to a widening of troubling drought conditions, now affecting 63 percent of the nation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Wednesday.
The average temperature in the contiguous United States — excluding Hawaii and Alaska — was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit (25.3 Celsius), 3.3 degrees higher than the average for the entire 20th century, NOAA said.
The previous hottest July on record was July 1936, when the average temperature was 77.4 degrees.
The warm temperatures in July helped make the last 12 months the hottest on record in the United States, and contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year, according to NOAA statistics.