Do weathermen still track heating and cooling degree days?

Dear Tom,
Do weathermen still track heating and cooling degree days?
— Paul Geddes, Rockford
Dear Paul,
They sure do. Degree day units assess heating and cooling usage. They are easy to calculate, using a daily average temperature of 65 degrees, a value engineers have determined requires no heating or cooling to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Each degree that a day’s average temperature falls below 65 is one heating degree day. A day with an average temperature of 40 would log 25. Heating degrees are tallied on a seasonal basis from July 1-June 30, giving a one-number snapshot of seasonal heating usage, allowing for quick season-to season comparisons of heating requirements. In a similar manner, cooling degrees are tallied for each degree the day’s average exceeds 65, with totals kept on a calendar-year basis.