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The year just past ranks among the top 10 wettest years on record for the contiguous United States, and was warmer than average, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The findings are based on preliminary data, and historical records dating back to 1895.

Although parts of the West remained in drought, rainfall was above average in 33 states, especially in the South and East, partly due to the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes, which affected 20 states. Nine tropical systems hit the United States, including six hurricanes, three of which were classified as major. In addition to Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne, Hurricane Gaston made landfall in August along the coast of South Carolina.

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