December is expected to start much warmer than usual across the U.S., with highs possibly reaching into the 60s Fahrenheit (15 to 20 Celsius) in the Midwest and along the East Coast, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.
Average temperatures from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 may be 5 degrees above normal in the East and in Maritime Canada and as much as 15 degrees higher across the Midwest, including Chicago, said Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland.
“After cool conditions linger in the Midwest and East this week, a strong warm-up is still slated to expand across the nation,” Rogers said in a note to clients today. “Highs across the Midwest and East should push into the 50s and 60s during the period, while Texas sees highs in the 70s and 80s.”
Warmer temperatures affect the amount of energy used to heat homes and businesses. The winter months are when the most natural gas and heating oil are consumed, and cold in the high-population areas of the East Coast and Midwest helps boost heating demand. Meteorological winter starts Dec. 1 while the calendar marks the season’s change on Dec. 21.
By Dec. 6, temperatures across the northern Great Plains and the South are expected to return to seasonal levels while remaining about 5 degrees above normal in the U.S. Northeast, Rogers said.
“The cooling, at least at this point, is not expected to be especially strong,” Rogers said. It’s a signal that the warmer temperatures expected next week won’t dominate December as a whole, he said.