Thursday, December 10, 2015

Warm start to Dec 2015 has its benefits!

Graph comparing kilowatt power use
On this 10th day of December 2015, well into what is normally a pretty cold month, I'm seeing something very strange! A power use curve that is trending downwards! 

An exceptionally warm start for a month that normally averages out to 35 degrees, (this year it was currently at 46ºF) has made for all sorts of nice surprises, not the least among them a very low electric bill as the furnace has remained idle.

The trend is forecast to remain the same through the 14th, at which point my location here in SW MO is supposed to see something of a cool down with thunderstorms no less!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wx indicators point to a mild early December!

 While the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation Indices (NO & NOA) can change without notice, it is still useful to see how they are trending. The AO Index measures the degree to which Arctic air penetrates into middle latitudes is related to the AO index, which is defined by surface atmospheric pressure patterns. When the AO index is positive, surface pressure is low in the polar region. This helps the middle latitude jet stream to blow strongly and consistently from west to east, thus keeping cold Arctic air locked in the polar region. When the AO index is negative, there tends to be high pressure in the polar region, weaker zonal winds, and greater movement of frigid polar air into middle latitudes. Right now it's positive.

The NOA Index can also swing towards a positive or negative value with the positive side tending to be associated with above average temperatures in the eastern United States! And that's a good thing!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

And so the winter cool down begins!

As we pass by the portal of time that is called December the 1st, we can almost see the sun arcing lower in the southwestern skies each day as that day becomes a little shorter. Many species of birds and animals know that it's time to head south into warmer climes for the next three months while winter rages around the northern hemisphere. Us humans, well, we aren't so smart all the time!

So, come December, many of us are stuck with dealing with whatever the coming winter deals out. And, it generally gets colder and colder and colder. But, that's not always the case. December 2014, for instance, was one of the better early winter months that I can remember! For one thing the month was 4.4 degrees above normal. And, while the nighttime temperatures did get down to the 30's on a regular basis, there were only nine days where we say the 20's and they were the high 20's at that! Rainfall, and most definitely snowfalls were few and far between. Actually we did get 2.8 inches of rain and zero inches of snow! That put us 2 inches down for the month, but it really wasn't a big deal as we more than made up for it in the months that followed. Electrically, my home used a whopping 500 less kWh's when compared to the year before! And, those savings really helped me out!

So, for me it's all about the average temperatures and exactly where they go. December typically sees a monthly average for the highs and lows at about 35ºF, down where I live in southwest Missouri. Then, January slams in at an average of 33 degrees with February moderating only a bit up to 28! Heating my humble adobe, at an average outside temperature of 33ºF, translates to an electric bill of about 1200-1800 kWh's. At 13 cents per kilowatt hour that amounts to $156 to $234! Let me tell you, getting hit, in that manner, for each of those three months really mounts up for a person living on a fixed income as I do.