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This spring-summer season has been a big one for warm-weather records, but the news that July was the hottest month ever recorded in the lower 48 states is the least-qualified one we've seen. Say it with us: Hottest. Month. Ever. It's not the hottest May, although that happened; nor is it the hottest six months, although those happened, too. It's the hottest month ever in the 118 years the United States has been keeping records. So how hot is it? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average temperature this past month was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 3.3 degrees hotter than the average for the 20th century, and 0.2 degrees hotter than the last hottest month ever, in July 1936. As The Washington Post's Jason Samenow notes: "In this most recent 12-month span from August 2011-July 2012, every state observed warmer than average temperatures except Washington state, which was near average." Here's hoping your air conditioner is working.

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