Some Contractors Can Brace for (Profitable) Heat

July 20, 2009
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When much of the continental United States hit a period of very hot, humid weather in late June, air conditioning contractors began to breathe a sigh of relief, especially if they follow the old adage, “If residential a/c goes out before the Fourth of July, customers will get it fixed or replaced; after the Fourth, not so certain.”

Now that we are hunkered down into the “lazy, hazy days of summer,” as the song says, what does the balance of the season portend for contractors who rely more on breakdowns than preventive maintenance agreements to make some money?


ALMANAC

By looking at several long-range (90-day) weather service forecasts, you find various pictures. For example, the Old Farmers Almanac (which proved accurate well in advance concerning the mid-June heat-up) said there is good news for contractors in places like Scranton, Pa.; Asheville, N.C.; Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Green Bay, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., as all those locales are expected to have above normal temperatures.

Areas with only slightly above normal summer temperatures include Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and New Orleans. Below average temperatures are forecast for Atlanta, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Strictly normal temperatures are said to be in store for Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Louisville.

In its broadest brush stroke, OFA predicts above normal readings for what it calls the Appalachian Region, Florida Region, Upper Midwest Region, and Heartland Region. Slightly above is noted in the Lower Great Lakes, Texas-Oklahoma, and Deep South, while below normal is slotted for the Pacific Southwest, Southeast, and the Intermountain Region (the Boise, Salt Lake City area).

NOAA

Meanwhile the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also come up with its own forecasts through its National Weather Service. It does not offer any subjective perspective, but this much can be said: Not so good news for contractors in the lower and middle Mississippi Valley due to “an enhanced likelihood of below normal temperatures due mainly to the influence of initially wet soil moisture conditions.”

Good news for those in the Rocky Mountains and westward (except for the Pacific Coast) where “above normal temperatures are favored.”

Beyond that, the government agency takes a decidedly neutral stand saying, “Elsewhere, equal change of below, near, and above normal temperatures are predicted.”

HARRIS-MANN

Climatologist Cliff Harris and meteorologist Randy Mann have their own Website (www.longrangeweather.com) where they divide up the country and give predictions, albeit with a bit of subjectivity as in moderating temperatures are good, even though such weather may not be so good for contractors needing some a/c breakdowns to keep techs working.

Briefly, they see through the summer west of the Rockies “normal, warm and dry early summer… (while) the weather for much of August looks great as long as the protective high-pressure ridge remains in place. The Desert Southwest will see “more blistering heat lasting into at least early October.”

For the Midwest corn and soybean belt, there will be a “warmer and drier side of the meteorological scale in July where places like Des Moines, St. Louis, and Indianapolis may top the century mark.”

For the Central and Southern Plains expect, “Very hot weather especially down into Texas where temperatures have already surpassed the 110 degree mark in some areas.”

In the Northeast, the predictors noted, “The hottest weather is expected around mid-July and mid-August”; while in the Southeast “July looks slightly wetter and warmer than normal.”

Publication date: 07/20/2009

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