Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mild weather expected to linger in the eastern U.S. the rest of this week will mean less energy is needed to warm homes and businesses, forecasters said.
The high temperature in New York’s Central Park is forecast to be 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) today, according to the National Weather Service. Residents of Washington will enjoy a high of 71 degrees.
The Northeast will use 20 to 30 percent less energy to warm homes through Feb. 8, said David Salmon, meteorologist for Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri. The South will use 50 to 60 percent less.
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 natural gas supplies, according to Energy Department data.
Natural gas futures yesterday posted the biggest January loss in three years as forecasts for milder weather and increased production signaled no end to a glut of the fuel.
For the next seven days, Salmon said, average temperatures may be 6 to 10 degrees above normal in the East, excluding New England, and 10 degrees above normal from the western Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.
High temperatures in Chicago are expected to reach into the mid-40s through the week, according to the weather service. In St. Louis, highs will be in the 50s through most of the week and possibly 60 tomorrow.
Atlanta will have temperatures in the 60s, while Dallas and Houston will have highs in the 70s, the agency said.
Temperatures across the South may return to more seasonal levels next week and may be even cooler in Texas, according to 6- to 10-day forecasts from Commodity Weather Group LLC and MDA EarthSat Weather.
The two companies differ on whether the Northeast will cool as well.
According to the 6- to 10-day forecast from MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland, temperatures in the Northeast will be 3 to 4 degrees above normal from Feb. 6 to Feb. 10.
In its forecast for the same time period, Commodity Weather calls for the Northeast to have more seasonal temperatures.
“We have to watch some colder risks this weekend and then again toward next weekend in the Northeast as some cold from Canada passes through the region,” said Commodity Weather President Matt Rogers in Bethesda, Maryland.
The average temperature in New York for Feb. 2 is 34 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston, it’s 30; in Chicago, 24; Atlanta, 45; Houston, 54; Seattle, 43; and Burbank, California, 56.
In their 11- to 15-day outlooks, both MDA and Commodity Weather predict above-average temperatures will spread from the upper Great Plains to the Northeast and Canadian Maritime provinces from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15.
Commodity Weather predicts the southern U.S. will have seasonal temperatures in that time frame, while MDA calls for above-average temperatures to spread into the Southwest, Texas and Arkansas.
--With assistance from Christine Buurma in New York. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker
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