An all-time low for heating degree days

  • Updated: June 30, 2012 - 7:16 PM
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A warm winter made of thin ice and low heating bills

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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The Twin Cities saw less demand for household heating in the past 12 months than in any other year on record.

"Heating degree days" -- which give an indication of that demand -- were at an all-time low for the period from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources State Climatology Office.

Heating degree days are calculated as the difference between a day's average temperature and 65 degrees. So, for example, on a day when the average is 50 degrees, there are 15 heating degree days. In warmer weather, the same formula is used to calculate the number of "cooling degree days."

There were fewer heating degree days in the past 12 months even than in 1877-88, "The Year Without a Winter," which had been the previous low, and 23 percent fewer than normal.

March was the key period. With an average temperature 15.5 degrees above normal in the Twin Cities, that month generated 524 heating degree days, slightly more than half the normal figure.

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