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U.S. Northeast to Have Warm February, March Cold Snap, WSI Says

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Northeast is expected to be warmer than normal through February before encountering another cold snap in March, according to Weather Services International.

The return to colder-than-normal weather in March may mean the Northern Hemisphere winter ends with greater demand for heating, said Chris Kostas, senior power and gas analyst at Wakefield, Massachusetts-based Energy Security Analysis Inc. Kostas works with WSI on seasonal weather forecasts.

“With widespread cold expected over most of the country, heating demand in March will likely be well above normal, and gas prices could be firm to finish the heating season,” Kostas said in a statement released by WSI, which is owned by the Weather Channel.

Overall, WSI is forecasting the U.S. Southwest, Pacific Northwest and upper Great Plains to be colder than normal through March, according to the statement. The Northeast, Southeast and south-central states will be warmer than normal through February.

In March, the Northeast and south-central states are expected to cool, while the Southeast remains warm, the statement said. The only exception is Florida, which is expected to be cooler than normal during January and February.

The higher-than-normal temperatures in the East during February may mean decreased electrical demand, which may also lead to lower gas usage, Kostas said.

“It will be an entirely different story on the West Coast, however, where above-normal heating demand in February is expected,” Kostas said.

While the return of cold weather in March may boost heating demands, Kostas said he doesn’t expect price spikes because the season has started with high inventories and more production is coming from shale gas wells.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan at Bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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