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Heat Hangs Over U.S. Midwest, Seasonal Weather Moves East

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Midwest will probably stay hot and dry through the end of the month while the East Coast may be spared another heat wave for the next two weeks.

Temperatures along the East Coast may remain at or slightly above seasonal norms and energy consumption for cooling will probably be about normal as well, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

In the Midwest, temperatures are expected to remain 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 to 4.4 Celsius) above normal as rainfall lags behind normal levels for this time of year from July 25 to Aug. 3, according to Joel Widenor, co-founder of Commodity Weather Group LCC in Bethesda, Maryland.

Temperatures may reach 100 degrees in Chicago next week, said MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Drought now affects 78 percent of the U.S. corn crop, the world’s largest, and prompted the Agriculture Department on July 11 to cut this year’s estimated harvest by 12 percent. Both soybean and corn fields are in their worst shape since 1988, sending prices soaring.

While heat hangs on across the Midwest, the seasonal temperatures expected in the Northeast next week may lower energy use there. Electricity producers account for about 36 percent of U.S. natural gas consumption, according to Energy Department data.

New York will probably have normal energy consumption, while the six New England states may use 10 percent to 30 percent less than usually expected at this time of year, Salmon said.

Mid-Atlantic Outlook

Temperatures in the mid-Atlantic region may be slightly above normal through the same time period, and that could translate into about 10 percent more energy being used to cool homes and businesses, according to Salmon.

“The East will see ongoing variability that should keep persistent heat from setting up,” MDA said.

For July 24, the normal average temperature is 78 in New York. It’s 74 in Boston; 80 in Washington; 85 in Houston; 74 in Chicago; 80 in Atlanta; 67 in Seattle and 75 in Burbank, California, according to MDA.

-With assistance from Whitney McFerron in London and Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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