Asheville had hottest year on record

By SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press science writer

With steamy nights, sticky days and torrential downpours, last year went down as one of the warmest and wildest weather years on record in the United States, and the hottest on record in Asheville.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that 2016 was the second hottest year in the U.S. as Alaska warmed dramatically and nighttime temperatures set a record.

The average annual temperature in the Asheville area in 2016 was 58.4 degrees, the warmest ever since weather recording began in the 1880s, said Chris Horne, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville, South Carolina.

The top three warmest years on record in the Asheville area were all in the past four years. The second warmest year was 58.2 degrees in 2012 and the third warmest was 58.1 degrees in 2015.

Weather recordings have been taken at the Asheville Regional Airport since 1964, and at various locations near downtown before that dating back to the 1880s, Horne said.

The U.S. also notched its second highest number of weather disasters that cost at least $1 billion in damage: 15 separate ones together caused $46 billion in damage and 138 deaths.

Later this month, global temperatures will be calculated, giving climate scientists more information as they monitor the planet’s warming.

The regular tally of the nation’s weather year shows that even on a smaller scale — the U.S. is only 2 percent of the Earth’s area — climate change is becoming more noticeable even amid the natural variations that play such a large role in day to day weather.

The average temperature last year in the Lower 48 states was 54.9 degrees (12.7 Celsius), nearly 3 degrees above the 20th Century average of 52 (11.1 Celsius). It’s the 20th consecutive year that the United States was warmer than normal.

Keep reading this alarming news.


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