Bloomberg News

U.S. Northeast May End 2011 Warmer Than Normal, Forecasters Say

December 28, 2011

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Northeast may remain warmer than normal until year’s end, say forecasters who disagree on whether January will then turn cold on the East Coast.

Commodity Weather Group LLC and MDA EarthSat Weather predict most of the U.S., including the Northeast, will have temperatures at least 3 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 to 4 Celsius) above normal from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1. The upper Great Plains and Midwest may be even warmer.

Traders use long-range temperature predictions to gauge energy use and demand for heating and cooling. Power plants consume about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to Energy Department data.

Heating degree days values for this week nationwide are forecast be an average of 161, or 41 below normal and 38 less than last year, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.

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

Beyond this week, forecasters disagree over how much cold will creep into the populated areas of the East Coast.

MDA, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predicts the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions will remain 3 to 4 degrees above normal. The South may become more seasonal, with temperatures in Florida falling below normal, MDA said.

Differing Forecast

Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather in Bethesda, Maryland, said the East Coast will probably cool to more seasonal temperatures next week.

In its 6- to 10-day forecast, Weather Derivatives calls for the much of the Northeast to range from seasonal to temperatures 2 degrees above normal, with pockets of colder weather.

Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut may be about 2 degrees below normal from Jan. 2 to Jan. 6, said David Salmon, Weather Derivatives meteorologist in Belton, Missouri.

The northern U.S. is expected to remain warmer than normal from Jan. 6 to Jan. 10, according to 11- to 15-day forecasts released by both MDA and Commodity Weather.

Both forecasters predict more seasonal weather along the East Coast during that time. MDA predicts the northern New England states of Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire may be warmer than normal.

Salmon didn’t release a forecast for the period.

The normal average temperature in New York for Jan. 5 is about 34 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston, it’s 29; Chicago, 24; Atlanta, 43; Seattle, 41; Houston, 50; and in Burbank, California, it’s 55.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, Margot Habiby

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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