July 2012 marked the hottest month on record ever for the lower 48 states, according to a report released by NOAA Wednesday.
With an average temperature of 77.6 degrees F in the contiguous U.S., the month of July surpassed the 20th century average by 3.3 degrees F.
The previous warmest July was in 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 degrees F.
The hottest locations in July were mostly stretched across the Midwest and central Plains, areas largely plagued by intense drought.
"Droughts tend to feed and sustain heat waves," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
July's warmth may have been intensified by dry conditions, which has caused a devastating corn crop loss and the potential for a significant soybean loss.
"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," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
"Evaporation is a cooling process. In July, all the sun's energy went into heating instead of evaporation and that likely added to the extremes a bit," Anderson said.
The drought is the most widespread since 1956, according to NOAA, with the most locations facing moderate to severe drought since the 1930s dustbowl.
Additionally, July's record warmth contributed to the record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the U.S. has experienced since record keeping began in 1895.
"We've had a lot of extremes globally and in the U.S. We can't say definitely that climate change is causing it, but it's definitely a suspect," said Anderson.
"But the planet is warming; that's unmistakeable. The frequency of extreme heat and drought events is likely to increase."
Preliminary reports are calling it an EF-4 tornado that has caused numerous fatalities and injuries in the Oklahoma town.
Several tornadoes touched down from Oklahoma to Iowa, including near Wichita, Kan., and Oklahoma City, on Sunday.
Rising temperatures and humidity across the mid-Atlantic will have it feeling like the end of June.
Heavy rain returning to the northern Plains will generate a renewed flood threat for the Red River.
Tornadoes broke out from Texas to Missouri on Monday with a deadly tornado moving through the town of Moore, Okla.
A tornado touched down at about 2:53 p.m. CDT Monday in Moore, between Norman and Oklahoma City.
Memphis, TN (1983)
Freak lightning bolt strikes a man in his neck, runs down his spine, and passes out of a pocket containing keys. The bolt then struck 2 other men nearby before also hitting a tree the men were standing under at a golf course. Miraculously all three men survived.
Kansas City, KS (1957)
Forty-five people killed and millions of dollars in damage by tornadoes.
Texas County, OK (1937)
Severe dust storm called "Black Blizzard" visibility near zero for 10 minutes.