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Higher Temperatures in Midwest, Northeast May Curb Gas Demand

The U.S. Northeast and Midwest will be warmer than normal through Oct. 19, which may mean less demand for natural gas for heating, according to forecasters.

For the period from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14, Commodity Weather Group LLC’s Matt Rogers predicts temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast will be 5 degrees to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 to 4.4 Celsius) above normal. MDA EarthSat Weather is forecasting temperatures as much as 8 to 14 degrees higher.

Traders use long-range temperature predictions to gauge energy use and market fluctuations. Hot or cold weather can increase demand for heating and cooling, and power plants use about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to Energy Department data.

In the 11- to 15-day outlooks covering Oct. 15 to Oct. 19, both forecasting companies predict a continued swath of warmer weather extending from the Southwest to the Northeast. The Pacific Northwest, along with northern California and Montana, may be cooler, said Rogers, president of Bethesda, Maryland-based CWG.

MDA, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, focuses the potential cooling on Oregon, Washington and California.

Rogers said one computer forecast model is predicting cooler weather will arrive in the Northeast late in the Oct. 15 to Oct. 19 period. However, he isn’t sure that will happen.

“So, we will continue to monitor the threat, but historically the American model is too fast to bring changes,” Rogers said in a short note to clients.

MDA predicted that average temperatures in New York next week will be in the high 60s to low 70s, ranging about 8 to 10 degrees above normal. In Boston, the average temperatures will be in mid-60s to low 70s, 10 to 15 degrees above normal.

Chicago’s average temperatures will hover in the mid-60s, 9 to 12 degrees higher than normal, and in Washington temperatures in the high 60s are expected, 5 to 8 degrees above normal, MDA said.

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