Heat Wave Persists in West as Flooding Threatens East Coast

July 2, 2013 03:12 AM

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.

Thunderstorms yesterday generated high winds that toppled trees and power lines from New England to South Carolina, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. An EF-0 tornado, the weakest on the Enhanced-Fujita scale, swept through Union County in New Jersey, according to the weather service’s office in Upton, New York.

Almost 580 flights in the U.S. were canceled yesterday in part due to the storms, according to FlightAware, a Houston- based airline tracking service. Philadelphia International Airport had 128 flights scrubbed and New York’s LaGuardia had 108 arrivals and departures grounded.

The high temperature is expected to reach 80 in New York City, where a flash flood warning is in effect through tonight. Most rain will probably be before noon and as much as 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) may fall today, the weather service said.


--With assistance from Naureen Malik in New York. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker


To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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