Bloomberg News

U.S. Northeast Chill May Boost Heating Needs Near Normal

March 26, 2012

A return to more seasonal weather in New England and the Northeast this week may mean energy needed for heating will be about normal for this time of year.

High temperatures will be in the 40s in New England and 50s in New York City this week, according to the National Weather Service. Heating demand will be near normal throughout the region, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives.

A freeze warning is in effect from Indiana to New Jersey because overnight temperatures may fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero Celsius), damaging plants that started growing in last week’s above-normal warmth, the weather service said.

Commodities traders watch temperature predictions to gauge energy use and demand. Gas prices have fallen 24 percent this year as mild weather crimped demand while production reached record levels. About 51 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

While weather in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states is expected to be close to seasonal this week, temperatures may be 5 to 8 degrees above normal in the central U.S., said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

The central Great Plains may see temperatures 15 degrees above normal.

Warmth Fading

“About the only things that the models agree upon right now are that the super-warm March pattern is finally fading and that the Midwest and South retains most residual warmth going through the 6- to 10-day period” March 31 to April 4, Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a note to clients.

The U.S. heating degree days value for this week is expected to be 69, or 43 below normal and 76 lower than last year, according to the Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.

Heating-degree days 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.

New England will have the highest value at 153, or 26 below normal and 56 lower than last year, while the mid-Atlantic may have the second highest with 130, or 29 lower than normal and 85 below last year.

From April 1 to April 5, the upper Great Plains and Midwest may have temperatures 10 to 18 degrees above normal, said Salmon, in Belton, Missouri, in his 6- to 10-day outlook.

The East Coast is expected to be 2 to 6 degrees above normal, except in eastern New England where temperatures will be seasonal, Salmon said.

In New York, the normal average temperature for April 3 is about 48, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 44 in Boston, 45 in Chicago, 53 in St. Louis, 59 in Atlanta, 62 in Dallas, 67 in Houston, 49 in Seattle and 60 in Burbank, California.

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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