WASHINGTON — Federal meteorologists say this winter was America’s wettest on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that from December to February, what it calls winter, the Lower 48 states got 9.01 inches of rain and snow, which is 2.22 inches more than the 20th century normal. It surpassed the 1997-1998 winter by 0.02 inches.

Record or almost record rain and snow fell in the West, Tennessee Valley and parts of the Great Lakes. Last month was the second wettest February on record.

Despite some bone-chilling outbreaks, winter in the Lower 48 was 1.2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. February was 1.8 degrees cooler than normal.

University of Illinois climate scientist Donald Wuebbles says increasing precipitation is a sign of climate change.

Records date back to 1895.

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