It was a year in which summer seemed to last from May to Halloween. So we're not surprised to see that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week declared that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded in California.

Was it the result of global warming, or just a freak blip in the record of time? There are experts who have backed both theories.

The NOAA says, however, that “most locations from the Rockies to the East Coast were cooler than average” last year.


On the other hand, nine western states had one of their top 10 warmest years in 2014, and California was joined by Alaska, Arizona and Nevada in marking their hottest years ever, the administration said.

Federal record keeping on average temperatures goes back to 1895.

California's average temperature—and keep in mind we're talking highs and lows, mountains and deserts—was 61.5 degrees, about 4 degrees more than the historic average, according to the NOAA.

You might be scratching your head because winter came in with a vengeance, dropping multiple inches of rain on Southern California and slamming us with about three significant storms so far this season.

But the NOAA is looking at the big picture. It's summary of 2014 data says:

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

Despite above-average precipitation in California, only modest drought improvements occurred due to long-term precipitation deficits.

Nationwide the United States experienced its second-warmest December on record, the NOAA says. Last year ranked as the 34th warmest from coast-to-coast.

The nationwide average temp in 2014 was 52.6, about half a degree above the 20th century average, the administration said.

“Very warm conditions dominated the West,” the NOAA says. Don't we know it.

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