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The U.S. just experienced its hottest June on record

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also noted the country has already had eight natural disasters that topped more than $1 billion each in damage this year.
A man cools off during a heat wave June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas.Ronda Churchill / AFP via Getty Images

In 127 years of record-keeping, the United States was never this hot in June. 

Blistering and record-setting heat waves on both the West Coast and the East Coast made last month the hottest June in U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As the Earth continues to warm, heat waves like what the U.S. experienced in June are becoming more frequent and more intense. With climate change leading to warming temperatures overall, this makes the baseline temperatures for heat waves higher than they otherwise would have been decades ago.

NOAA also noted that the country has already experienced eight natural disasters that topped more than $1 billion each in damage this year, with total losses in the first six months at a near record high.

The previous hottest June on record was 2016, which was nearly a whole degree cooler when it came to the average temperature across the contiguous U.S.

When breaking down the June heat by state, the statistics get even more alarming.

Eight states saw their hottest June on record, including Arizona, California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Utah. California had a statewide average of 6.8 degrees above average. Six other states registered their second-hottest June.

The June temperature records were staggering at the city level. During the Pacific Northwest heat wave of June 25-30, temperatures soared up to 40 degrees above average and approximately 175 record highs were set across parts of northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

Portland, Oregon, was one of those cities climbing to 116 degrees breaking its record by 9 degrees. Seattle experienced an unprecedented three straight days of triple-digit temperatures. The U.S. Olympic team trials for track and field had to move events to earlier in the morning or after sunset to protect the athletes from the blistering heat. The trials were even halted one afternoon when track temperatures neared 150 degrees.

At the same time that the Pacific Northwest was boiling under one of the worst heat waves in American history, the Northeast endured its second heat wave of the season. Temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s broke records in cities such as Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. Even Boston hit a rare 100 degrees, which was its first such reading in a decade. 

The exceptional heat has also helped to fuel the expansive drought across the entire Western region. Nearly 95 percent of the West is currently facing drought, up from 40 percent this same time last year.