A late winter storm that has a chance of scraping past the Northeast in about six days may keep temperatures in the heavily populated region from rising to normal levels next week.
The storm may keep the East Coast cooler than expected and complicates the long-term forecast, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
“The models are all over the place,” Rogers said in an e- mail interview today. It’s “definitely something to watch.”
Today is the start of meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the beginning of the last month of the heating season, which opens in November. Cooler weather in March has less of an impact on energy markets than it would in January, usually the year’s coldest month.
January accounts for 25 percent of seasonal gas-heating demand compared with about 17 percent for March.
The normal average temperature in New York City on March 15 is 42 degrees (5.6 Celsius), while on Jan. 15, it’s 32, according to the National Weather Service. In Chicago it’s 38 on March 15 and 24 on Jan. 15, the weather service said.
Temperatures from March 6 to March 10 may average about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across northern New York and New England, Rogers said in his forecast. The storm may damp that warming slightly.
For East Coast cities including Philadelphia, New York and Boston, temperatures are expected to remain seasonal, he said.
The storm will probably lack the punch of systems that have passed through the area earlier this season because there isn’t an abundance of cold air to draw, said Gary Best, a meteorologist at Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“If this was a month or two before, we would be talking about a pretty good snowstorm, potentially,” Best said by telephone.
Best said New York City and New England may be on the northern edge of the storm, although it’s possible the system will pass by without much effect. He expects the storm to arrive March 6 to 7.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at email@example.com