2012 Hottest Year on Record in US, Second-Most-Extreme Weather

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports average temperature of 55 degrees for 2012.
2:11 | 01/08/13

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Transcript for 2012 Hottest Year on Record in US, Second-Most-Extreme Weather
It is official. 2012 was the hottest year in the united states since weather scientists started keeping records. And hotter, not by a little, but by a landslide. Tonight, abc's dan harris tells us about this new report and the red flags of warning about extreme heat all across the globe. Oh, man. This is the last you'll see of the shed. ReporTURES COMING Out of australia tonight are apocalyptic. Flames devouring homes, huge black and brown blossoms of smoke. A lone kangaroo hopping through a charred moon scape. Firefighters in the worst possible conditions. She's swthese swirling, vicious winds. Incredible winds are making it that much tougher for firefighters on the front lines. Reporter: It's so hot, the government had to change its forecast maps, adding new shades of purple for temperaturing hitting 130 degrees. Scenes like this are becoming more common. Look at this nasa imagery showing the entire planet has gotten hotter in recent decades. Here in america, 2012 was not only the warmest year on record, but also the second-most extreme, featuring tornadoes, wild fires, a massive drought and, of course, superstorm sandy. The house -- right. Reporter: And the water pushed it all the way over here. Many cities had record warmth, including washington, d.C., where a lack of action on man made climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant feature, according to many scientists. So, we shouldn't expect this is the last record? This is by no means the last record. I mean, you really got to think of climate change as something that increases our risk for being unlucky. So, we need to prepare up front, as we move into, you know, this warmer, hotter, more extreme world. Reporter: How do we prepare? Take stock of where you live and protect your home by doing things like getting a generator, possibly, buying flood insurance, maybe, and possibly even raising up your water heater if it's in the basement. Diane? And I know you are going to be speaking with an american family going through their house to address just that. Reporter: Fascinating. Thank you so much, dan. And now, new trouble tonight

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