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Expand chart
Data: NOAA; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The Lower 48 states likely had their hottest December on record, new data shows, with numerous locations in the Central States, South and East breaking previous benchmarks by large margins.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season in much of the U.S., with widespread impacts for snow sports, drought and fire weather risks.

By the numbers: Temperatures averaged across the entire state of Texas make December 2021 that state’s warmest, state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said in a statement.

  • It is also likely to be the first month to exceed the 20th-century average by more than 10°F, which is a large margin for a monthly record that Nielsen-Gammon pinned in part on climate change.
  • Tulsa and Oklahoma City had their warmest December on record, as did Baton Rouge, Louisiana. East Coast locations were unusually mild as well, with cities from Washington to Boston having a top 5 warmest December.

Threat level: December concluded a year of deadly extreme weather events with yet another billion-dollar disaster, with Colorado’s most damaging wildfire on record occurring on Dec. 30.

  • Scientists say there's reason to expect even more menacing extreme weather disasters in 2022 after last year brought the uncomfortable realization that even scientists' worst-case scenarios don't fully capture what the climate system is already capable of.

Go deeper: Extreme weather could get even worse in 2022

Go deeper

The most startling facts in 2021 climate report

An unsettling part of the human condition today is that the year you were born will most likely be the coolest year of your life, globally speaking.

By the numbers: Newly released climate data from NOAA, NASA and Berkeley Earth show that the planet has had an unbroken streak of 45 years of warmer than average temperatures.

Chance of wintry mix this weekend in Atlanta

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hey, Kristal here!

The predictions are all over the place, but one thing is clear about the weather system moving into north Georgia late tomorrow evening: Some areas should get some winter precipitation.

Why it matters: Any mention of winter weather moving into Atlanta leads to y’all panic-buying bread and milk (please don't do that). If snow or ice sticks, everything shuts down and our attempts at driving become viral gold on social media.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
54 mins ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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