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Most of US will remain unusually hot through October, NOAA says

Highlights

Hot spots: Colorado, Utah, Texas, New England

Active tropical storm season also expected

  • Author
  • Karin Rives
  • Editor
  • Rocco Canonica
  • Commodity
  • Agriculture Coal Electric Power Energy Transition

With more than 100 million Americans under heat alerts this week, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said most of the U.S. will likely continue to experience unusually warm temperatures from August through October.

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In a presentation of its three-month weather forecast, NOAA predicted above-normal temperatures stretching from coast to coast and Alaska with hot spots in Colorado, Utah and New England states. Much of Texas, which has recently seen record energy demand and soaring power prices amid triple-digit temperatures, will also be warmer than usual, the agency said in a July 21 media briefing.

"The likelihood of above-normal temperatures in the next three month ... has been increased by multi-decadal temperature trends due to climate change," said Dan Collins, a meteorologist with the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Collins also forecast a "greater than normal" tropical storm season for the eastern and southern Atlantic coasts.

NOAA's weather predictions came as speculation continued over whether the Biden administration will call a climate emergency — and if so, when. At a July 20 speech at a former coal plant site in Massachusetts, the president announced new steps his administration is taking to address climate change and its impacts, saying rising global temperatures present a "clear and present danger."

But the president stopped short of declaring an emergency, which would unleash federal funding to ramp up renewable energy deployments, investments in clean transportation and other measures to mitigate climate change. His administration has signaled that an emergency declaration may come soon.

'Next week will be crucial'

"Useful, but small-bore climate actions," is how Bill McKibben, a co-founder of the advocacy group 350.org, described the president's announcements. "The next week will be crucial."

The administration may, in fact, still be "keeping hope alive for a legislative bargain on clean energy incentives," Clearview Energy Partners, a Washington-based policy research firm, said in a note to clients. The president's "danger" wording could also "foreshadow a much stronger, future action," the firm said.

Nine U.S. Senate Democrats sent a July 20 letter to Biden urging the president to unlock the "broad powers" of the National Emergency Act. Such an action is necessary, they signaled, to overcome Republican resistance to Biden's climate agenda and the reluctance of Democrat and key swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to take a sweeping clean energy bill across the finish line.

With U.S. efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions faltering, the country is on track to miss pledges it made to other nations under the Paris Agreement on climate change, experts have warned.

"Our planet is burning while climate change deniers continue to obstruct the necessary measures that our country must take to combat this crisis," tweeted U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., one of the signatories to the letter. Padilla's state is suffering through its worst drought in 1,200 years, according to research published earlier this year in Nature Climate Change.

The weekly Drought Monitor also released July 21 showed that some Western states continued to experience temperatures up to 8 degrees higher than normal in recent days. But parts of the region have also been getting relief from scattered monsoon showers that could alleviate some of the drought in that section of the country if the showers continue through mid-September, the report said.

The Drought Monitor is a collaboration between NOAA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.