Possibly the biggest factor affecting your electric bill is the weather. It not only directly influences how much you use to heat or cool your home but also affects the demand, supply, and ultimately the price of energy on the wholesale markets. In our What’s the Weather? series, we’ll track weather forecasts and events to see how they impact your energy bills and how that information can help you save.
Ridging Brings Fleeting Relief
You may have noticed lately that compared to all the hazy, hot, and humid conditions Texas and the mid Atlantic states are coping with, it’s suddenly lovely outside! Perfect weather for sipping some lemonade out back on the deck and just relaxing at the end of the day.
You can thank the current high pressure ridge parked over the southwest. The ridge is pushing hot, dry air all over the western states, into the northwest and upper western plains. It’s also fueling drought and wildfires throughout the region. Meanwhile, it’s pulling cooler northern air deep into south central and midwest states.
That means cooler temperatures are expected to move into the central and southern great plains, mid-Atlantic states, and New England. Temperatures are forecast to average near 10°F below normal during the first and second week of August. Meanwhile, drought conditions will persist in the upper plains, sections of the midwest, the Carolinas, and south Texas.
Now, going into mid-August, a nice cool spell will do wonders for your electric bill. It also means you can turn it off and do some midsummer maintenance and duct sealing to help make your system even more efficient because, like it or not, that high pressure ridge won’t stay put for too much longer. All that above-average summer heat will probably be back before Labor Day.
The NOAA predicts the August-September-October outlook “indicates increased chances of above-normal temperatures across Alaska and the contiguous U.S.”, particularly along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic coast, and the northeast. While residents in the northern climes might enjoy a more temperate fall to fatten their pumpkins, Texas might endure an extra month of heat — which could mean hurricanes spinning up in the Gulf of Mexico.
Where Are All the Hurricanes?
This year’s hurricane season is really just getting started. As we move into August, sea surface temperatures (SST) have risen above 80°F in the main development region (MDR) and the Gulf of Mexico, which is just the right temperature that feeds hurricane development. Recent examples are July’s Tropical Storm Don, which developed in the MDR region of the Atlantic and Tropical Storm Emily (July 31 – August 2), which developed very quickly just off western Florida then moved eastward over the state and dissipated over the Atlantic. It is likely that the Atlantic and Caribbean will see more activity as the season reaches its peak in the coming weeks.
As of Friday, August 4, there are two disturbances (named “Disturbance 1” and “Disturbance 2” ) being monitored by the National Hurricane Center as these systems have the possibility of organizing into tropical storms and hurricanes.
- Disturbance 1 is southwest of the Cape Verde Islands moving westerly towards the Lesser Antilles.
- Disturbance 2 is moving northwesterly on a line from just north of Venezuela towards Campeche, Mexico.
While these two systems appear to be following a predictable path, tropical weather systems have been known to suddenly change direction. That’s why it’s important to be alert and prepared for tropical storms during hurricane season. No matter where you live, make sure you and your family are prepared and have a plan. Also check out NOAA’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week suggestions as well as these other helpful storm resources: