nyc-cityscape-blackout.jpgWe all know what temperature measures and what humidity is (if not then you should probably start here), but Gothamist has been asked, "What the heck are Degree Days and why should we care?" Well, we're glad you asked. According to NOAA

A degree day gauges the amount of heating or cooling needed for a building using 65 degrees as a baseline. To compute heating/cooling degree-days, take the average temperature for a day and subtract the reference temperature of 65 degrees. If the difference is positive, it is called a "Cooling Degree Days". If the difference is negative, it is called a "Heating Degree Days". The magnitude of the difference is the number of days.

The measurement is used to reflect demand for energy to heat or cool homes and businesses. The "heating year" is measured starting July 1st and the "cooling year" is measured starting January 1st. The measurements taken at over 200 stations nationwide are then population weighted in different state, region, and national divisions to more accurately estimate power demands in different areas.

You can view the NOAA's current Degree Day Assessment "weekass" page here. After what happened last summer, you would be wise to bet that ConEd will be watching this info very closely this summer.