Bloomberg News

Thunder May Signal End of East Coast Heatwave

July 18, 2012

Thunder and lightning may herald the end of the Northeast’s current heat wave today, though 90-degree Fahrenheit temperatures may return next week and relief for the parched Midwest doesn’t appear likely.

Temperatures along the East Coast from New Hampshire to Virginia may be at least 3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Celsius) above normal and even higher in the rain-starved Midwest from July 23 to July 27, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Today’s forecast trends hotter for the eastern third of the U.S. for especially the middle to end of next week,” Rogers said in a note to clients today. “Another quick spike of heat centered on Thursday could push the mid-Atlantic into the mid-to upper 90s briefly.”

The return of 90-degree temperatures may increase energy demand in the eastern U.S. by 10 percent to 30 percent through next week, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri. The forecast for higher temperatures, with a prediction of a smaller-than-normal increase in stockpiles, has led gas prices to increase.

Natural gas for August delivery rose 13.7 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $2.933 per million British thermal units at 10:58 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures have climbed 54 percent since April 19.

Temperatures in New York City may reach 96 today, 100 in Washington and 97 in Philadelphia. A cold front, with the potential of spawning severe thunderstorms, is expected to arrive late today and bring some relief from the heat.

Severe Thunderstorms

There is a 15 percent chance severe thunderstorms will develop from the Ohio Valley into New England later today, including New York, Philadelphia and Boston, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Heavy rain, high winds and hail are all possible, according to the center.

“Thunderstorms are expected to develop by late morning/early afternoon,” a forecast analysis said. “A tornado threat is not expected with the primary threats being damaging winds and hail.”

Tomorrow, New York’s high is expected to peak at 88 and be down to 79 later in the week.

In the Midwest, temperatures are expected to remain at least 5 degrees above normal through the end of the month and little rain is expected during that time, according to Commodity Weather Group.

Heat coupled with a lack of rain will exacerbate drought conditions that are currently gripping at least 56 percent of the contiguous 48 U.S. states.

Corn Crop

Corn has surged 41 percent since June 1 as Midwest crops withered under the drought. That rise in prices has been slowed for a second day in Chicago on speculation a drought-fueled rally to a 13-month high may curb demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s largest grower and exporter.

U.S. output of ethanol, made from corn, fell 2.3 percent in the week ended July 13 to the lowest level since the Energy Department began tracking weekly production data in June 2010. U.S. feedlots likely cut cattle purchases by 1.5 percent in June from a year earlier amid higher corn costs, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts before a government report July 20.

For July 24, the normal average temperature is 78 in New York, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 74 in Boston; 80 in Washington; 85 in Houston; 74 in Chicago; 80 in Atlanta; 67 in Seattle and 75 in Burbank, California, according to MDA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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