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Heat Wave Persists in West as Flooding Threatens East Coast

July 2, 2013

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Temperatures in the U.S. West will reach as much as 20 degrees above normal today while heavy rain threatens the East Coast, the National Weather Service said.

The high may be 111 Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) in Bakersfield, California, and 103 in Sacramento as another day of baking heat takes hold in the West, the agency said.

"Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories remain in effect where daytime temperatures will yet again soar past the century mark and overnight lows will struggle to drop into the 70s and 80s," said Mary Beth Gerhardt, a forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Heat in high population areas spurs electricity demand as more people turn to air conditioners to keep cool. That may also translate into an increased need for natural gas as power plants will consume 32 percent of the fuel in the U.S this year, Energy Information Administration data show.

The California Independent System Operator Inc., which manages the state’s electricity grid, issued a Flex Alert for today asking consumers in Northern California to conserve energy and utilities to restrict maintenance.

Power consumption is expected to peak at 46,715 megawatts today and 47,219 megawatts tomorrow, according to California ISO’s website.


Precautions Urged


The weather service urged people to limit daytime activity and to rest in air conditioned rooms if possible. Heat warnings and advisories cover parts of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona.

From 1999 to 2009, heat killed an average of 658 people per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Along the East Coast, flood warnings and flash flood watches have been posted from New Hampshire to Georgia as another round of heavy rain and thunderstorms is expected to sweep the region, according to the weather service.

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