Believe It or Not​,​ 5 US States Have Hottest Year on Record

2014 was quite a year across the globe for warm temperatures. At the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December, a number of US urban areas joined the record-setting festivities while not a single major urban area achieved record cold. The facts are, it’s been almost 30 years since a major US city had a record cold year. According to the folks over at Climate Central, 17 of the 125 largest metropolitan areas in the US had their hottest year on record. Interestingly, the record setting cities all sit to the west of the Rockies. The heat followed Interstate 5 from Seattle down through Portland, Sacramento and San Diego with detours to San Francisco, Fresno and Modesto before heading east to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Tucson. Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and El Paso are among other western metro areas also had their top 5 warmest years. Here are some more details from the year-end report.

  • Five states with record setting cities were Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
  • California has 10 of the 17 hottest cities in part because it’s such a huge urban state, but also because it has experienced some extreme heat over the year. the state was running about 2 degrees F above its previous hottest year, which is a huge margin when you consider most records are broken by tenths or hundredths of degrees.
  • The 17 metro areas that set records in 2014 have a population of 28.5 million, or about 9% of the US population.
  • Some metro areas, however, such as Kansas City, MO and Fayetville, AR did actually experience a top 10 coldest year, but most major cities east of the Mississippi River had just cool or near average temps. This of course, was due to that polar vortex that sat over the middle section of the nation for the first couple months of last year.
  • It’s been 29 years since any city in the US has seen a record cold year. The last metro area to feel the big chill was Kansas City, Mo., Spokane, WA., and Boise City, ID back in 1985.
  • When it comes to global record coldest year, you’d have to go back a century to 1909. Incidentally, that record was tied two years later on 1911.