July 20, 2006

Rising temperatures extend record year: govt

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Temperatures will average above normal
in most of the United States in August, extending what has been
the warmest year on record so far, the U.S. National Weather
Service said on Thursday.

"We've had record average warmth in 2006, and the outlook
for August is above-normal for much of the country," said
Edward O'Lenic, meteorologist for the NWS.

The heat in August will be focused on the southern and
central parts of the country, with temperatures well-above
normal over eastern Texas, according to the monthly forecast.

The outlook could mean additional pressure on the U.S.
electrical grid, which held up to bouts of record demand for
air conditioning during a heat wave this month.

The Northeast and the eastern Midwest, big population
centers, will have equal chances of getting hotter or cooler
temperatures during the month, the NWS said.

Much of the Texas cotton-growing region and the U.S.
Northwest will also see below-normal precipitation in August,
the NWS said in its 30-day forecast.

"The existing drought in Texas will likely continue or
deepen," said O'Lenic.

The dry outlook could have implications for the Texas
cotton industry, already facing problems from thin rainfall in