"Extreme weather" might just as easily be called "normal weather" after the parades of destruction witnessed in the United States during and 2012. As the hottest year on record in the 48 contiguous states, 2012 set more than 15,000 local warm-temperature records in March alone. The worst drought since the 1930s ravaged the Midwest. The largest hurricane on record, Sandy, reached an extent equivalent to about half the contiguous U.S., or 1 percent of the entire global ocean area, according to meteorologist Jeff Master of the news and information website, WeatherUnderground.com.Climate scientists have predicted for years that global warming would bring more extreme weather.This year, 11 U.S. disasters -- pictured in the following slides -- caused more than $1 billion in damage apiece. Reporting by Bloomberg NewsVisit or the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.