2012 was the third year in a row with 19 named tropical storms, 10 of which packed hurricane strength. One was a major hurricane.
Some relief came from one of the slowest tornado seasons in decades with just 878 confirmed twisters and 58 reports still pending review.
However, it was still a deadly and destructive year: three tornado outbreaks caused at least $1 billion in damage and there were 68 tornado-related fatalities.
Every one of the 48 states in the continental United States had an above-average annual temperature in 2012 and 19 of those broke records.
The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 F (12.9 C), which is 3.2 F above the 20th century average, and 1.0 F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
The warm temperatures meant that the winter season "was nearly non-existent for much of the eastern half of the nation," NOAA said.
The December 2011 to February 2012 period was marked by near-record warmth across the U.S.-Canadian border, the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast.
Many locations had near-record low snowfall totals for the winter, which left soil parched and contributed to the drought.