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Energy Demand at Peak as Dixie Heat Sets Marks

July 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Electric companies throughout the Midwest reached peak energy demands Friday, swapping megawatts among themselves to help keep people cool.

The Southeast, meanwhile, remained entrenched in the sizzling heat wave that extended into its 13th day. The heat has been blamed for at least 17 deaths.

Afternoon temperatures ranged from the low 90s in Michigan to 100 degrees in Augusta, Ga., 103 in Fayetteville, N.C., and 97 in Washington, D.C. It hit 99 in Atlanta, breaking a record set in 1944, and 98 at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham Airport, breaking a 1948 record.

It was 105 degrees in Columbia, S.C., marking the 13th day in a row that the city had seen the mercury in triple digits.

Peak Power Demands

Utility companies in Ohio reached peak demands for the second straight day as temperatures shot up to 95 in Columbus. Commonwealth Edison customers in Chicago strained energy limits for a third consecutive day Friday.

Increased energy demands forced utilities to buy power from other utility companies, ComEd spokesman Carter Brydon said.

"Not only is it a burden for one utility, but a burden for a whole group of utilities," Brydon said.

Hot and humid air pumped into the Great Lakes, keeping temperatures in the mid 90s. Midwesterners braced for continued heat through at least the weekend as the heat wave kept creeping westward into the Dakotas.

Forecasts Over 100

While some parts of the upper Midwest were expected to cool by early next week, temperatures of over 100 were forecast for the weekend in South Carolina and Georgia.

"It looks like more of the same," Wes Tyler, assistant climatologist for South Carolina, said Friday. "Barring any tropical influence, it's getting more serious by the day. We ain't asking to be hit by a hurricane, but it would help if we got some rain. . . . It's a good time to live underground."

Meanwhile, President Reagan ordered Air Force transport planes to ship hay from Illinois to South Carolina to feed starving cattle, the White House said late Friday.

Airlift of Hay

White House spokesman Denny Brisley said an Air Force C-141 transport will leave Springfield, Ill., today and arrive at Spartanburg-Greenville, S.C., airport with a load of hay.

South Carolina Gov. Richard W. Riley, a Democrat, brought the predictament of his state's farmers to public attention, and Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, a Republican, offered to send surplus hay by train. But that would have taken until Thursday, when Reagan is to appear at a political fund-raiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Carroll Campbell.

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