ST. LOUIS -- If you’re a Missourian and felt hot under the collar last year, there is good reason.
The National Weather Service said Tuesday that 2012 was the warmest year on record in St. Louis and Columbia, and was among the warmest in other Missouri communities.
St. Louis recorded an average temperature of 61.2 degrees for last year, a full 1.1 degrees higher than the previous mark of 60.1 degrees set in 1921. In Columbia, the average temperature of 59.4 degrees topped the previous record of 58.3 degrees set in 1938.
Elsewhere, Springfield’s 2012 temperature (average 59.5 degrees) was the second-warmest there, and Kansas City’s 58.8 degrees tied for third. Joplin averaged 61.5 degrees, fourth-warmest on record. St. Joseph averaged 56.8 degrees, tied for its sixth-warmest.
Jayson Gosselin, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in suburban St. Louis, said the warmth took hold in March and didn’t let up until around the onset of fall.
“Basically we were underneath this dome of high pressure that was by and large fairly stagnant throughout the summer,” Gosselin said. “It kind of got us into a drought, but also the warm weather as well.”
March, May and July all set temperature records in St. Louis. In fact, the average temperature in St. Louis in July -- 88.1 degrees—made it the warmest month since weather data collection in St. Louis began in 1874. St. Louis had 147 days in which the temperature reached at least 80 degrees, 21 days of triple-digit readings and a record 11 days of 105 degrees or higher.
Columbia set 14 daily high-temperature records in 2012 and had 24 100-degree-or-higher days, Gosselin said. The thermometer reached at least 50 degrees in all but 63 days in Columbia.
Joplin had 48 straight days of temperatures reaching at least 90 degrees—June 23 through Aug. 9.
Statewide, temperatures began to return to normal in August and stayed that way through the rest of the year, Gosselin said.
“January is shaping up probably near normal, maybe even below normal,” he said.