Bloomberg News

Mild Weather May Mean Less Energy for Heating, Forecasts Say

January 23, 2012

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. energy demand for heating is expected to be lower than normal this week because of mild weather, forecasters said.

The heating degree days value for the week may be 144, or 62 below normal and 72 lower than last year, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center’s weekly forecast.

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 businesses.

Traders use long-range weather predictions to gauge energy use and demand for heating and cooling.

The Northeast and Ohio Valley may use 20 percent less energy than normal to heat homes and businesses this week, according to David Salmon, a meteorologist with Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

Temperatures may be 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 to 5.6 Celsius) above normal across much of the Northeast and central U.S., he said.

In his 1- to 5-day forecast, Commodity Weather Group LLC President Matt Rogers predicted temperatures in the eastern U.S. and Canada will range 5 to 8 degrees above normal.

Temperatures along the East Coast may rise to as much as 8 to 14 degrees above normal, according to MDA EarthSat Weather’s forecast for the same time period.

New England Outlook

Natural-gas weighted heating degree days, which reflect use of that fuel, are expected to total 202 for New England, or 73 below normal and 138 below last year, said the climate center in Camp Springs, Maryland.

In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes New York, the gas-weighted degree days value is expected to be 195, or 68 below normal and 106 lower than last year, the center said.

More seasonal weather may spread across the eastern U.S. starting this weekend, while the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains experience above-normal temperatures, said Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

In its 6- to 10-day forecast, MDA also predicted more seasonal weather across most of the eastern U.S. with the exception of northern Maine, which may be warmer than normal.

MDA expects the Pacific Northwest to be cooler than normal in the same Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 time period.

Salmon’s 6- to 10-day forecast calls for New England, the Pacific Northwest and western Great Lakes regions to be cooler than normal.

The normal average temperature in New York on Jan. 27 is 32.5, according to MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In Boston it’s 29; in Chicago, 24; Atlanta, 44; Houston, 54; Seattle, 43; and Burbank, California, 55.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, David Marino

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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