Above-normal temperatures will probably dominate much of the U.S. East, West and Gulf coasts next week, pushing down energy demand, while colder weather holds in the upper Midwest and eastern Canada, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.
Temperatures 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.4 Celsius) higher than normal are expected from eastern Louisiana to southern New Jersey from Dec. 21 to Christmas Day, Rogers said. Readings 3 to 5 degrees above the norm are likely through most of California into Oregon and parts of Washington.
“The big story today is the significant reduction of the Christmas week cold outbreak, as we are now only seeing some weak, transient cooling with more variability for a much-reduced demand impact,” said Rogers, who’s based in Bethesda, Maryland.
Below-normal temperatures, especially in Eastern and Midwestern cities, tend to increase energy consumption as more people heat homes and businesses. Power generation accounts for 32 percent of U.S. natural gas use, according to the Energy Information Administration. About 49 percent of all homes use the fuel for heating.
The heating season, when gas demand peaks, runs from November through March. December accounts for 20.9 percent of fuel use while February takes 22.6 percent and January tops the list with 25 percent.
The value is calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees. Higher readings mean temperatures are falling and more energy is being used to heat homes and businesses.
The normal average temperature in New York for Dec. 25 is 36, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. For Boston it’s 32; St. Louis, 33; Chicago, 25; Houston, 53; and in Calgary it’s 19.
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