Illinois was hot last year, setting more than 150 heat-related records, but as IPR's Chris Slaby reports, it wasn't the only state burning up in 2012:
Nearly one in three Illinois weather stations saw a record-high temperature last year. That ranks fourth in the country, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Seven of the 10 hottest states are in the middle of the country. Kim Nolton says that's not a coincidence. She's a senior scientist with the environmental group and says last summer's drought is to blame.
"With the lack of rain and cooling rain and soil moisture, that didn't provide more opportunity, sort of naturally, for natural cooling."
Nationally, more than 35-hundred heat records were set last year. That includes July being the hottest month ever recorded in the continental US.
It all adds up to the warmest summer in American history.
"That was also the 36th consecutive year globally to exceed the 20th Century average. We are really looking at a trend towards hotter temperatures."
Nolton says being too hot, for too long, can lead to climate change, which in turn results in more severe weather, like droughts and hurricanes.
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