Bloomberg News

New York, Northeast Will Bake One More Day Before Cool Moves In

June 08, 2011

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- High temperatures in New York and the Northeast that have sent electricity demand to near record levels and boosted health risks will last one more day before a cold front sweeps them away, according to forecasters.

Parts of New York may reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) tomorrow before the front drives temperatures down 10 to 15 degrees, said Rob Carolan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire.

“The heat is going to break pretty quickly,” Carolan said by telephone. “That front is going to continue to be barreling east and it has the potential to set off some severe weather tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like it is going to be a tornadic event.”

The frontal system caused a 25-degree swing in Minneapolis, where temperatures of 78 today followed a daily record of 103 degrees yesterday, according to the National Weather Service.

Wholesale electricity on the PJM Interconnection, a benchmark for the mid-Atlantic region and operator of much of the grid from Washington to Chicago, climbed to the highest in three years today. Power for delivery tomorrow rose $44.52, or 28 percent, to $203.49 a megawatt-hour, the highest price since June 9, 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We’re expecting around 144,895 megawatts at peak demand today, which if we do that, it’ll be a record for June,” said Paula DuPont-Kidd, a spokeswoman for Norristown, Pennsylvania- based PJM.

Power Prices

In the New England Power Pool, electricity jumped $61.20, or 88 percent, to $130.74 a megawatt-hour, the highest price since Jan. 21 and the biggest one-day advance since July 2, 2010. Power in New York increased $7.60, or 11 percent, to $74.54 a megawatt-hour, the most expensive price since Dec. 17.

“Both the Midwest and the East are at or approaching their peak levels of heat today so that the national cooling demand level should be at its zenith for this current event,” Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland, said today in a note to clients.

There’s more than enough generating and power-line capacity in New York to meet today’s expected peak usage of 31,000 megawatts, the highest so far this year, said Ken Klapp, a spokesman for the New York Independent System Operator, which controls the statewide power grid. Similar demand is expected tomorrow, he said in a telephone interview.

Available Capacity

Available capacity is 35,862 megawatts, well above the minimum needed to guard against a blackout from plant shutdowns or high-voltage system failures, the operator said in a statement on its website. New Yorkers used as much as 26,642 megawatts yesterday when the temperature reached 87 degrees in Central Park. The record was 33,939 megawatts on Aug. 2, 2006.

“It still isn’t near the peak of last year or the record,” Klapp said.

Natural gas futures hit a 10-month high for the third consecutive day. Gas provides about 30 percent of the nation’s power-plant fuel.

In New York, the city has opened cooling centers for people seeking relief. Washington warned residents to guard against the heat and suggested refrigerating spray bottles full of water “for a quick refreshing spray to you face after being outdoors,” according to a city statement.

Air quality alerts have been issued from New Hampshire to Georgia, warning that ground-level ozone concentrations will “approach or exceed unhealthy standards,” the weather service said on its website. People with respiratory problems or heart conditions and children and adults engaging in strenuous activity should limit their time outdoors.

In his 6- to 10-day outlook, Rogers said New England will probably be cooler than normal from June 13 to June 17. Heat will continue across the U.S. South and be particularly intense in Texas, he said.

“We could press Texas back to the 100-degree level early next week,” Rogers said.

The heat will probably spread through the Midwest from June 18 to June 22, Rogers said.

--With assistance from Jim Polson in New York. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net; Mario Parker in Chicago at mparker22@bloomberg.net.

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


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