The average temperature from September to November in the contiguous United States was 57.6 Fahrenheit this year, making it the “warmest autumn period on record,” according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The temperature was 4.1 degrees higher than the 20th-century average for the three-month period, and 0.8 degrees above the previous record, which was set last year.
That did more than let you rock cargo shorts on Halloween. It also resulted in one of the most dangerous wildfire seasons in the country, with much of the damage concentrated in the Southeastern United States. Some 8,560 fires burned this autumn, more than all other years on record save 2011, when 10,223 fires burned.
Eight different states set records for warmth in this year’s autumn period, with 19 others registering temperatures that were either the second- or third-warmest on record. With one month of the year left, the average temperature across the U.S. in 2016 has been 56.9 degrees. That’s a scant 0.1 degrees lower than the temperature through November in 2012, the warmest year on record for the lower 48.