This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 19, 2006

First Half of 2006 is Warmest on Record for the United States

At the halfway point, 2006 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record for the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Based on preliminary data, the average January to June temperature for the contiguous United States was 51.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 3.4 degrees F above the average temperature during the 20th century. The heat is taxing electrical power systems while a continued drought is depleting hydropower resources. In June, 45 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in moderate to-extreme drought, an increase of 6 percent from May, while 27 percent was in severe-to-extreme drought, an increase of 7 percent from May. This year is also shaping up to be the sixth warmest on record for the globe, with January to June average temperatures at 0.9 degrees F above the 20th-century mean. See the NOAA press release and the full analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

In case you haven't noticed, July is turning out to be a warm one as well, with a heat wave setting records across much of the country. So far, U.S. utilities are meeting the challenge without any major power disruptions, although many are calling on their customers to conserve energy. Electricity supplies are strained and new electrical demand records are being set from coast to coast. But don't take our word for it, see the press releases from the Long Island Power Authority and the California Independent System Operator (PDF 26 KB). Download Adobe Reader.