U.S. sees warmest spring on record for 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Across the Lower 48, Americans were sweating through the warmest spring since records began in 1895.

Climatologists define spring as the months of March, April and May, although the summer solstice does not actually occur until June 20.

This spring's nationwide average temperature was 57.1 degrees, over 5 degrees above normal and two degrees over the previous record set in 1910.

According to the National Climatic Data Center report, "Record and near-record warmth dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation during spring."

The intense heat was thanks to a persistent area of high pressure that set up camp over the eastern U.S.  During much of the season, the jet stream remained well to the north, keeping the high in place, and keeping cold fronts from pushing south.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also reported Thursday that May of 2012 was the second warmest May on record, averaging 64.3 degrees, just below 1934.