WASHINGTON (AP) _ It's shaping up to be one of the warmest years on record.
The annual temperature for 2007 across the contiguous United States is expected to be near 54.3 degrees Fahrenheit _ making the year the eighth warmest since records were first begun in 1895, according to preliminary date from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Worldwide, temperatures were also in record territory. The global surface temperature for 2007 is on pace to be the fifth warmest since those records were first started in 1880, the report said.
In the United States, the months of March and August were the second warmest in more than 100 years. Only February and April were cooler than average.
The past year was particularly rough in the Southeast and West, which experienced serious drought conditions. More than three-quarters of the Southeast was in drought from midsummer into December, the report said.
The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration will update its data in early January to reflect the last few weeks of December.