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Warm Temperatures in Eastern U.S. May Mean Less Energy Consumed

Mild weather may mean less energy is needed to heat homes and businesses in the eastern U.S. next week, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives.

Temperatures from the northern Great Plains to the western Great Lakes, including Chicago, are expected to be about 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 Celsius) above normal from tomorrow through Feb. 24, Salmon said. Temperatures will range from 2 to 6 degrees above normal across the rest of the East.

Energy use from the Mississippi River Valley to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states will probably be about 20 percent below normal during the period, and even lower along the Gulf of Mexico, said Salmon.

Traders watch temperature predictions to gauge demand for natural gas, heating oil and electricity. Weather in the eastern U.S. affects energy use more because the population density is higher than in the West. About 51 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, the Energy Department says.

A storm bringing rain and snow showers this weekend to the mid-Atlantic region may send high temperatures down into the mid-30s and lows into the 20s in Washington, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago will have highs in the 30s and partly cloudy skies this weekend.

New York may be warmer, with temperatures near 50 tomorrow and 40 to 45 though the middle of next week, according to Rob Carolan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Mild in East

Mild weather is expected to remain in the East through Feb. 26, according to a 6- to 10-day outlook from Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

Frigid air will cover most of Canada and the western U.S. from Feb. 27 to March 2, according to Rogers’s 11- to 15-day forecast.

“It appears that it will weaken rapidly as it races eastward,” Rogers said in a note to clients.

The normal average temperature in New York on Feb. 22 is 37 degrees, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 33 in Boston; 38 in Philadelphia; 49 in Atlanta; 30 in Chicago; 52 in Dallas; 44 in Seattle; and 57 in Burbank, California.

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