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California Heat Lingers, Midwest May Stay Dry Through Next Week

Heat will grip the western and southern U.S., pushing temperatures to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or more from Pasadena to Dallas today, while the Great Plains and Midwest remain parched.

An excessive-heat warning has been issued for the mountains and valleys just north and east of Los Angeles as temperatures are expected to rise above 100 today and come close to that for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

High temperatures pushed California electricity prices to their highest point in a month last week, while the drought gripping U.S. agricultural states has cut corn harvest projection to a six-year low and has kept crop prices high throughout the summer.

“It does seem like they are going to stay on the hotter-than-normal side but we don’t see them hitting the peaks of last week,” said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. “The impressive thing here is they haven’t seen the duration of this kind of heat for several years; you have to go back three years at least.”

In Pasadena, California, about 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles, today’s high may reach 103 and in Burbank the high may be 100, the weather service said. Downtown Los Angeles is expected to hit 92.

The heat may push electricity demand to 47,481 megawatts today, according to California ISO’s website. Last year’s peak was 45,545 megawatts on Sept. 7 and from 1998 to 2011 the largest draw was 50,270 megawatts on July 24, 2006, according to the grid operator.

Power Prices

On Aug. 9, spot electricity at Southern California’s SP15 hub gained $33.73 a megawatt hour, or 89 percent, to average $71.70 during the peak-demand hours, the most since July 19.

Peak energy use occurs between 2:30 to 5 p.m., according to Sacramento operator’s records.

Today’s high in Dallas is expected to be 101 degrees today and near 100 through the rest of the week, according to the weather service. Phoenix may reach 115 degrees.

Temperatures throughout the entire western U.S. may linger 5 to 8 degrees above normal for the rest of the week, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC. From Colorado and New Mexico east to Texas and Arkansas temperatures may be 3 degrees higher than normal through Aug. 17, Rogers said from his office in Bethesda, Maryland.

Across the Midwest, where drought has damaged crops and hurt livestock, more seasonal weather is expected this week, while temperatures may drop from 3 to 5 degrees below normal next week, Rogers said.

Rain Outlook

Less rain than normal will probably fall from Montana to western New York, including the Midwest, from Aug. 18 to 22, according to Joel Widenor, co-founder of Commodity Weather. There is a chance the southern U.S. from Oklahoma to North Carolina will get more rain than normal.

U.S. corn production will reach a six-year low of 10.779 billion bushels (273.8 million metric tons) in the year beginning Sept. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Aug. 10. Soybean output may be 2.692 billion bushels, down from 3.056 billion estimated in July.

The U.S. East Coast is expected to have seasonal temperatures from August 18 to Aug 27, Rogers said.

The normal average temperature in New York for Aug. 15 is 77, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 73 in Boston; 79 in Washington; 84 in Houston; 73 in Chicago; 79 in Atlanta; 66 in Seattle and 76 in Burbank, California.

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