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Higher Temperatures in U.S. East May Cut Energy Use by 20%

Milder weather in much of the central and eastern U.S. next week may mean the region will use about 20 percent less energy for heating than usual, according to David Salmon of Weather Derivatives.

Temperatures along the East Coast and western Great Lakes may be 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal (3.3 to 5.6 Celsius), said Salmon, a meteorologist at the Belton, Missouri-based forecaster.

Salmon said he expect that most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains will be at least 6 degrees warmer than normal from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6.

Traders watch long-range temperature predictions to gauge energy use and demand for heating and cooling. About 51 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

In his 6- to 10-day outlook for Feb. 1 to Feb. 5, Commodity Weather Group LLC President Matt Rogers predicts that temperatures will rise 15 degrees above normal across Alberta and Montana and about 8 degrees above normal across the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.

The Northeast, including New York, will probably average about 5 degrees above normal, said Rogers, who is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

MDA EarthSat Weather, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, issued a similar forecast, while forecasting more seasonal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and Texas.

In its 11- to 15-day outlook, MDA calls for the eastern U.S. to return to more seasonal temperatures with the Southeast to be 3 to 4 degrees below normal. Rogers made a similar forecast for the same timeframe.

Salmon doesn’t issue an 11- to 15-day prediction.

The normal average temperature in New York for Feb. 2 is 34 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston it’s 30; in Chicago, 24; Atlanta, 45; Houston, 54; Seattle, 43; and Burbank, California, 56.

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