The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed that July 2012 was the hottest July on record in the lower 48 states.
The average temperature nationwide was 77.6 degrees. In the Washington region, the mean temperature recorded at Reagan National Airport was 84 degrees, a full 4.2 degrees above normal.
NOAA said the region had a decent amount of rain in July—a daily average of .09 inches—but the places around the country that were the hottest also were suffering from drought, in the Midwest and central Plains.
"Droughts tend to feed and sustain heat waves," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
"A lack of water in the ground has allowed the sun to heat the surface much more efficiently than it normally would, due to less water being evaporated.”
Besides a consistently high temperature, we had a whole bunch of days that were really, really hot. This month tied August 1980 for the most number of days of 95 degrees or higher in any month—16 total—NOAA said.