Heat, drought hang on in Alabama

Heat, drought hang on in Alabama
(Getty Images)

“Just hang on until next week.”

That’s the refrain across Alabama, where record-high temperatures for a September have bled into October. And while the first full week of October promises much cooler weather, the impact of 2019’s extended summer will still be felt for a while.

As this week began, 10 Alabama counties had areas categorized as in extreme drought. In contrast, the state had no drought conditions at the beginning of 2019.

Alabama Power is taking drought conditions into consideration, having already reduced water releases from its hydroelectric dams. As October is traditionally the driest month for the state, the company expects lake levels to slowly decline.

“Our lakes lost a half a foot from evaporation alone,” said Alabama Power Reservoir Management Manager Alan Peeples. “We’ve already started cutting back on releases, and will have to evaluate the traditional October weekend recreational releases on a week-to-week basis.”

Those wanting to enjoy the lakes can get updates through the Alabama Power Smart Lakes app (iOS and Google Play,) which has lake level data and information on spillway conditions.

Keeping homes cool during these extremely hot days uses more electricity. (Getty Images)

The echoes of September heat will be felt on October and November power bills.

“September is typically a milder month for our customers, but our preliminary figures for the month show more energy use than any September over the last 40 years,” said Operations Manager Shardra Scott. “We didn’t have any issues meeting that demand, but it was unseasonably high.”

Air conditioners, heat pumps and climate control have the greatest impact on electric bills, and extreme temperatures cause that equipment to work harder.

Customers can see more about the strong connection between weather and power consumption with My Power Usage, and can level out the highs and lows of their monthly bill with Budget Billing, available through their Alabama Power account portal.

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