Winter warmer-land: US breaks record for hottest winter

March 8, 2016 by Seth Borenstein
Winter warmer-land: US breaks record for hottest winter
In this Dec. 24, 2015 file photo, a man wearing shorts, sneakers and no socks rides a rental bike through a downtown Manhattan street on Christmas Eve. Federal meteorologists say the winter that has just ended was the hottest in U.S. records, thanks to the combination of El Nino and man-made global warming. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Federal meteorologists say the winter that has just ended was the hottest in U.S. records, thanks to the combination of El Nino and man-made global warming.

The for the Lower 48 from December through February—known as meteorological winter—was 36.8 , 4.6 degrees above normal. It breaks the record set in 1999-2000.

Last month was the seventh warmest February. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist Jake Crouch said a super-hot December pushed the winter to record territory. The fall of 2015 also was a U.S. record.

All six New England states had their warmest winters. Every state in the Lower 48 had winters at least 1.7 degrees warmer than normal. Alaska was 10.6 degrees warmer than normal.

Records go back to 1895.

Explore further: Winter sets global heat record despite US East's big chill

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