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The great heat-up: How Nevada is faring

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Between the Bundy standoff and the presidential caucuses/primaries, you might have missed this bit of news: 2015 was the second-hottest year on record in the U.S. The hottest? 2012, when the country’s average annual temperature was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, three degrees higher than the 20 th-Century average. Last year’s average annual temperature was 54.4 degrees.

But how hot was it here? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average temperature in Nevada  rose 2 degrees from 50.9 degrees from 1995 in to 52.9 degrees in 2015. (Our state’s record year was 2014, with an average 53.1 degrees.)  Las Vegas experienced the second-warmest year in its 67-year of record-keeping last year, with an average of 71.9 degrees, 2.5 degrees higher than the overall average. (At an average 48.1 degrees, incidentally, Ely had its warmest year on record.)

Nevada was one of the majority of  U.S. states whose  2015 was “much above average” relative to the 120-year period. A handful of states (Florida and the Pacific Northwest) saw record high temperatures during that time, while a New England-to-Texas swath was “above average.” No state in the U.S. has gotten cooler. Hm, if only we had a way to profit from all that sun …

Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.