July had hottest average temperature in U.S. history, NOAA says

Americans had to find any way to cool off this past July. Photo: ABC7

July didn't just feel like the hottest month ever - in fact, it was the hottest month ever.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that the average temperature for the lower 48 states was 77.6° fahrenheit, making it the hottest month in recorded United States history.

The temperature, which is 3.3° warmer than the 20th century average, eclipses the old record of 77.4°. That all-time average high was set in July of 1936.

NOAA's record keeping of average temperatures goes back to 1895.

The National Weather Service says that the average temperature at Reagan National for the month of July was a steamy 84 degrees. On 22 days last month, the high temperature exceeded 90 degrees. The temperature maxed out at 105 degrees on July 7.

The record-breaking heat came as the majority of America was baked and parched, as many states are experiencing severe drought conditions. Virginia, specifically, had its warmest July on record; one of 32 states that recorded one of their ten warmest months.

Dan Huber with the Center for Climate & Energy Solutions tracks Mother Nature's trends.

"The four types of events that we have an observational record showing that they are getting worse are heat waves, heavy precipitation, wildfire and drought," Huber explained.

A new report by "Environment Virginia" also found extreme rainstorms are occurring 33 percent more often in the Commonwealth since 1948.

Large rain or snowstorms that happened one every year are now occurring every nine months nationwide.

Huber added, "Climate change is changing the way that the atmosphere works. "

In fact, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 63 percent of the United States is currently experiencing "moderate to extreme" drought conditions. That number reached 63.9 percent on July 24, the highest percentage in the history of the monitor.