LaGRANGE — People are trying to beat the heat this summer, which has shown record-breaking temperatures.
According to data collected by the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, the months of June and July were 22 percent hotter than the average.
Tuesday’s temperature at LaGrange-Callaway Airport recorded a new high of 101 for the date, passing the old record of 98 degrees that was recorded in 1957. Monday’s high of 98 tied the record for that date, which was also set in 1957.
“We’re not experiencing a major heat wave, as some people might assume,” said Dr. Shea Rose, professor of weather and climatology at the University of West Georgia. “The conditions we have experienced — lots of sunshine with little moisture — have just left us with little rain to cool off from this heat.”
Local residents will get a small break from the heat this weekend as temperatures are predicted to dip back down to the lower 90s and chances of rain, but that will be short-lived. According to the National Weather Service, Saturday’s high temperature will climb back into the mid-90s.
The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, or GAEMN, is a program of the University of Georgia that uses a weather monitoring stations throughout the state to measure weather activity. The program’s local outpost is at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. Using online data available from GAEMN weather records, LaGrange City Manager Tom Hall said that the city is able to track weather patterns and how they coincide with electricity usage for the city.
“We took a look at how this summer has stacked up compared to the last couple of years, as well as the average,” said Hall. “We measure that in something called degree days, which is the average temperature throughout the day, minus 72 degrees. So, if the average temperature is 82 degrees then that equals 10 degree days.”
According to data collected by the city via the GAEMN, this weather year is 27 percent warmer than it was a year ago, and 38 percent warmer than it was two years ago.
“We’ve looked at our power supply, and we talked about the city’s generation resources, and we are very well suited to meet the high demand, which was about 110 megawatts today,” Hall said at the July 28 City Council meeting. “That’s about as high as it gets in LaGrange.”
Hall said that the heating and cooling of residences represents just about half of the occupant’s heating bill. He recommends that residents keep their thermostat around 78 degrees in order to save money, as keeping it on a lower setting will expend more electricity than is needed. He also offered advice on how residents can keep their utility bills consistent.
“A non-expensive opportunity to overcome high bills as they occur throughout different times of the year, is to get on what we call ‘balanced billing’ or ‘budget billing,’” said Hall. “When the bills do get high in the heat of the summer or the cold of winter, the bill becomes more average and more able to budget than in a typical month. A lot of times, it keeps people from getting in trouble with their bills.”
Donny Karr is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154.