Frigid weather will spread from the U.S. Midwest into the Northeast, probably breaking records along the way, as February ends and March begins.
Average temperatures at least 15 degrees Fahrenheit (8 Celsius) below normal will spread across the Great Plains and Midwest from today through March 5, said Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Readings of at least 8 degrees lower than normal will range across the Northeast.
“Details gyrate, but the song remains the same,” Rogers wrote in a forecast today.
March is the last month of the heating season, which began in November, during which the U.S. burns the most natural gas to warm homes and businesses.
The gas-weighted heating degree days value for the U.S. is expected to reach 220 this week, or 40 more than normal and 38 more than last year, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. The figure, a measure of cold and heating demand, is calculated by subtracting the average temperature from a base of 65 degrees with more emphasis given to those parts of the U.S. that burn the most gas.
The cold may moderate from March 6 to 10, although Rogers predicts temperatures will remain at least 5 degrees below normal across most of the eastern U.S. and 8 degrees lower in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Ontario.
“The big-picture theme of an impressive cold-dominated pattern that is colder than last year’s March start is consistent,” Rogers said.
Last year was the coolest U.S. March since 2002, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. The 48 contiguous states had an average temperature of 40.8 degrees, or 0.9 degree below the 20th century average,
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