Frigid Start to 2013 After Warmest Year Ever

2012 records highest average temperature in U.S.

Sub-zero temperatures on the first couple of days of 2013 provide an ironic twist to news that 2012 was the warmest on record in the U.S.

According to Climate Central, 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on analyzing 118 years of temperature records. Last year's spring and summer heat waves helped push the average temperature into record-breaking territory.

The average temperature for the year was 55.5 degrees, beating the 1998 record of 54.32. Seven of the top 10 warmest years have occurred in the past 15 years, which many experts attribute to global warming caused by rising carbon emissions.

That tidbit of weather news provides cold -- make that freezing -- comfort for Chicago-area residents dealing with the first real cold snap of the season.

Wednesday is expected to be mostly sunny and breezy with highs ranging between 25-31 degrees.

Thursday could bring more temperatures in the upper 20s, but the thermometer will start trending upward toward the weekend and the beginning of next week.

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