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Midwest, Great Plains May Stay Warmer Than Normal, Forecasts Say

The upper Great Plains and Midwest may be warmer than normal next week, while meteorologists are divided on what will happen along the U.S. East Coast.

MDA EarthSat Weather and Commodity Weather Group LLC both predict the East Coast may be 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 to 2.8 Celsius) above normal from Dec. 18 to Dec. 22. Weather Derivatives’ 6- to 10-day outlook calls for East Coast temperatures to be more seasonal.

The warmth across much of the eastern U.S. this week has convinced Commodity President Matt Rogers that the trend will continue for the short term. That may change for the 11- to 15-day outlook, he said from his office in Bethesda, Maryland.

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

In his outlook for Dec. 23 to Dec. 27, Rogers calls for most of the U.S. to be more seasonal. Temperatures in the Northeast and parts of Nevada and Idaho may be 3 degrees higher than normal, he said.

In its 11- to 15-day outlook, MDA predicts colder-than-normal temperatures across the Southwest, with parts of the upper Great Plains and Northeast remaining about 3 to 4 degrees warmer.

Weather Derivatives, in Belton, Missouri, doesn’t issue a comparable forecast.

For Dec. 22, the normal average temperature in New York is about 36 degrees, according to MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In Boston it’s 33; in Atlanta, 44; Houston, 54; St. Louis, 32; Chicago, 26; Seattle, 40; and in Burbank, California, it’s 54.

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