WILKES-BARRE — Though the cold has not affected natural gas or electric supplies, January has set a number of records and resulted in a shortage of blood donations.
A cold snap at the beginning of the month shattered records for the day set in 1988. The temperature dropped to -4 degrees at 7 a.m. Jan. 7.
It also set records for utilities:
• Joe Swope, communications manager for UGI Utilities, said Tuesday the company set a peak record for gas output. He said the company measures gas output from 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. in a 24-hour period.
• PPL’s electricity demand reached 7,784 megawatt-hours, shattering the previous record of 7,577 megawatt-hours set on Feb. 5, 2007.
Power supply concerns have been raised elsewhere in the Mid Atlantic. PJM Interconnection, which serves 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, has asked consumers to conserve electricity. PJM also serves Pennsylvania.
Despite the most recent cold snap, Swope and Levitski said their companies are not having any issues with supplies.
Ed Button Jr., president of Button Oil & Propane, said his company’s supplies of oil and propane have been steady. Demand, however, has been high.
“We’re keeping up with it,” Button Jr. said. “We have all of our customers supplied.”
Button Jr. has seen prices increase due to the cold weather and high demand. For both oil and propane, he said prices have increased by about 15 percent.
The cold weather was still enough to cause Gov. Tom Corbett to direct PennDOT to extend the temporary waiver on certain restrictions on commercial drivers for smooth delivery of heating oil and propane. First issued on Jan. 10, the waiver has been extended through Feb. 11.
Geisinger Blood Services is also calling on donors to endure the winter conditions to donate blood. A news release from the organization states that a nationwide shortage has been the result of the Arctic blast that has gripped the country.
That shortage has also impacted the area serviced by Geisinger Blood Services.
“Winter weather is expected to continue to negatively impact our blood donations,”said Mike Quint, Geisinger Blood Services Director, in the release. “Patient needs don’t change with the weather. That’s why we’re asking our donors to overcome the conditions and make their way to donate at a donor center or mobile drive.”
An end in sight?
January 2014 is a few days away from being in the history books. WNEP-TV meteorologist Tom Clark called the month “abnormally cold.” The average temperature for the month was 22.1 degrees, which Clark said was 3.9 degrees below normal.
While the wind chill has been a brutal throughout the month, temperatures have dipped well below zero. Along with the record-setting Jan. 7, Clark said the temperature went below zero on five mornings this month. No other records have been broken.
Though an abnormally cold month, Clark said he wouldn’t list this month among the five coldest Januaries.