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Energy Use for Heating May Come Close to Normal Levels Next Week

The amount of energy used for heating homes may return to near-normal levels across much of the U.S. next week before milder weather settles in by mid-month, forecasters said.

Cooler air in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Texas will drive energy demand for warming homes to normal levels, according to an outlook for Feb. 4 to Feb. 10 by David Salmon, meteorologist at Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

Much of the rest of the U.S., including the Northeast, may be within 90 percent of normal for this time of year, Salmon predicted.

Traders use long-range temperature outlooks to gauge energy use and demand for heating and cooling. Power plants consume about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to Energy Department data.

By the middle of the month, milder weather may start to return to the eastern half of the U.S. Temperatures may be 8 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 to 7.8 Celsius) above normal from the Great Lakes to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, including New York and Chicago, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

From the Canadian plains to the U.S. South, temperatures may be 5 to 7 degrees above normal, according to the same forecast, for Feb. 12 to Feb. 17.

Commodity Weather Group LLC President Matt Rogers, in his outlook for the same period, said the warmest air will be concentrated in a smaller region from the Great Lakes to the Northeast. In addition, the southern Rocky Mountains may be cooler than normal, Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said in his 11- to 15-day forecast.

The normal average temperature in New York for Feb. 10 is about 35 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston, it’s 31; in Chicago, 27; Atlanta, 46; Houston, 54; Seattle, 43; and Burbank, California, 56.

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