Between June and August, the contiguous United States experienced its 3rd hottest summer. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average temperature around the lower 48 states was warmer than average in June and August, and set a new heat record for July. The average for the whole summer was 74.4 degrees F, 2.3 degrees above the 20th century average. The only hotter summers were in 2011 and way back in 1936. The most notable aspect of this summer climate is the extreme drought in parts of the country. According to the US Drought monitor, nearly 63 percent of the lower 48 continue to experience drought conditions to this day.