April '06: Warmest on Record in U.S.

This past April was the hottest ever in the United States, according to records going back to 1895, said the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The hottest states were Texas and Oklahoma, which had their warmest April on record, while New Mexico, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee recorded their second warmest. Twelve other states recorded one of their top-five warmest Aprils on record.

The intensely warm spring weather helped intensify thunderstorms that spawned hundreds of tornadoes across the Midwest, killing at least 10 people.

It also exacerbated drought conditions, which affected 31 percent of the contiguous United States, an increase of 5 percent from March. There were numerous wildfires, especially in the Southeast.

The good news: The record warm temperature led to below-normal residential energy demand across the country, as measured by the nation's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index.