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Insider Blog: Extreme heat in August brings increased cooling demand

Temperatures are coming down after the peak of summer, but last month was record-setting in several ways. High temperature records were set across the state, and the humidity was especially historic. Columbia recorded its highest heat index ever at 117 degrees on August 20th, and St. Louis saw its longest stretch of dew points at 80 degrees.

With more houses in the region equipped with AC than ever before, forecasters keep a close eye on the potential energy budget from these extreme conditions. Cooling degree days can be calculated to give a rough estimate of energy expenditure, by finding the average temperature departure from a set limit, typically 65 degrees. Put simply, cooling degree days are calculated by finding how many degrees you would need to cool your living space to get it down to 65. Cooling degree days can easily rack up when high temperatures are soaring to triple digits, and the opposite is also true as we head into cooler months.

Heating degree days are likewise calculated by how much you would need to warm your home to 65 degrees. Both of these figures are expected to rise into the future, as a changing climate brings more extreme heat and cold.

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Nate Splater

Nate forecasts on the weekend edition of ABC 17 News This Morning on KMIZ and FOX 22, KQFX.


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