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Eastern U.S. May Cool Off as December and 2012 Come to Close

The eastern U.S. is expected to cool in the last half of December after warmer than normal temperatures dominate the region this week.

Temperatures may be 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) higher than usual from the Midwest to the Northeast this week, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Colder air will arrive in the East starting this weekend and may persist through the end of the month.

“The details are still murky, but it looks like a cold push drops through the mid-continent” late in the Dec. 22 to Dec. 26 period, Rogers said today in a note to clients.

Colder-than-normal weather in the high-population areas of the Northeast and the large cities of the Midwest increases energy use for heating, which may push up natural gas and heating oil prices. The period from November to March is when the most fuel is used for heating in the U.S.

Rogers said temperatures may drop about 3 to 5 degrees below normal across the Midwest and South from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31. In the Northeast, temperatures will be seasonal.

MDA Weather Services disagreed, predicting temperatures across the eastern U.S. will remain seasonal through year’s end. The Pacific Northwest and California may be 3 to 4 degrees cooler in the same period.

In New York, the normal average temperature for Dec. 25 is about 36 degrees, according to MDA in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It is 32 in Boston; 25 in Chicago; 32 in St. Louis; 53 in Houston; 19 in Calgary, Alberta; 35 in Seattle; and 49 in Burbank, California, according to MDA.

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