WASHINGTON, April 9, 2012 (AFP) - The United States has experienced the warmest March on record dating back to 1895 due to unusually high temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the nation, federal scientists said on Monday.
The country's average temperature last month of 51.1 degrees Fahrenheit (10.6 Celsius) was "8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March and 0.5 degrees F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Every single state saw at least one record warm day last month, while hundreds of spots across the country broke their previous all-time warm records for the month of March. A total of 25 states east of the Rocky Mountains has their warmest March on record, and an additional 15 states showed last month ranked among their top 10 warmest Marches ever. The warmest March on record data includes just the continental United States and excludes Hawaii and Alaska, the latter ranking last month as its 10th coolest on record in sharp contrast to the rest of the nation. Meanwhile, the first three months of this year also showed a record warm trend for the United States with an average temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 Celsius), six degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average, NOAA said.
The United States also experienced its first billion dollar storm of the year March 2 and 3 with a tornado outbreak that killed 40 people in the eastern US and caused $1.5 billion dollars in damages, the agency said.