The past 12 months are the warmest ever recorded in United States

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The report from the National Climatic Data Center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, does not take into account blistering heat from this month, with 2,116 high temperature marks either broken or tied between July 2 and July 8 in communities nationwide.

But it does incorporate the warmest March recorded as well as extreme heat in June, which also helped make the first six months of 2012 the warmest recorded of any January-June stretch.

In the last half of June, 170 all-time temperature records were matched or smashed in cities across the lower 48 states.