It's been a building story and we've hinted, rather strongly since late Spring for that matter, that 2012 was looking likely to be one of the if not the warmest year on record. Once July hit, it was pretty much a lock barring epic amounts of cold. Outside of November's chill, every month in 2012 has been above average and in many months, significantly above average.
Through Wednesday, the annual average temperature (using December as a full month) was 58.93 degrees, which is 0.83 degrees higher than 1931, the old gold standard for heat in Philadelphia. It's the third consecutive year of top ten warmth in Philly, with 2010 and 2011 each placing fourth in successive years before 2012 bumped all of them aside.
The year's warmth started with an impressively warm January and February -- both of which were five degrees above average, but was topped by a near record setting March where our average temperature missed a record for warmest month on record by three tenths of a degree (52.5 versus 52.2).
If that wasn't warm enough, July was the third warmest on record....missing 2011 by three-tenths of a degree but in the process tying a record from the 1950's by recording two 100 degree days for the third consecutive year. Also, it was the first time we ever had 100 degree days in three consecutive months of July. July 2012 featured a 101 degree high on July 7th followed eleven days later by a 100 degree high.
The year remained generally very warm with the exception of the post-Sandy impact in November, which ushered in the coldest November since the mid 90's. However, even despite that one cold month the rest of the year's warmth was able to push us to set a record that had been on the books since 1931!