Bloomberg News

East Coast Cold May Boost Heating Fuel Use, Forecasters Say

October 24, 2011

(Updates with MDA forecast starting in second paragraph.)

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- A cold snap in the eastern U.S. late this week may mean “above-normal heating demand,” said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

Cooler weather will blanket much of the East, where lows of 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1 to 4 degrees Celsius) can be expected from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, Rogers said in a note to clients today. MDA EarthSat Weather also predicts the U.S. East will be cooler, with the exception of New England, where temperatures may be near normal.

“The models are still in excellent agreement on a widespread cool-to-cold push later this week,” Rogers said from his office in Bethesda, Maryland.

Traders use long-range temperature predictions to gauge energy use and market fluctuations. Hot or cold weather can increase demand for heating and cooling, and power plants use about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to Energy Department data.

Heating degree days values in Boston may reach 23 by this weekend with temperatures about 8 degrees lower than normal, according to MDA, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. MDA forecasts the value to be 18 in New York, 19 in Philadelphia, 18.5 in Washington and 15 in Atlanta.

Heating degree days, calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, are designed to show energy demand. Higher values mean cooler weather and more energy being used to heat homes and business.

MDA EarthSat and Commodity Weather differ on their 11- to 15-day outlooks covering Nov. 3 to Nov. 7.

Rogers predicts the northern U.S. will be cooler than normal, with lower temperatures reaching down the East Coast to South Carolina. MDA forecasts that most of the northern U.S. will be more seasonable, with some warmer-than-normal weather in Maine and northern New Hampshire and Vermont, and the coldest weather in Montana and North and South Dakota.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, Dan Stets

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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