U.S. Northeast, Midwest May Cool in Mid-January

Average temperatures in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest may drop by at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) in the second half of January.

Temperatures in the East Coast are forecast to return to seasonal levels from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21 after falling from 8 degrees above normal from Jan. 7 to Jan. 16, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

In the Midwest, temperatures that are now 8 degrees above normal are expected to fall to about 3 to 5 degrees below the usual, said Rogers, who’s based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Upper-atmosphere weather patterns “will eventually give these colder air masses and associated cold fronts more muscle to push their way into the East and the rest of the South,” Rogers said in a note to clients.

Energy traders look to long-range forecasts to gauge potential fuel use. Below-normal temperatures in the large cities of the Midwest and Northeast may increase demand for energy to warm homes and businesses, boosting natural gas and heating oil prices. About 50 percent of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating.

In New York, the normal average temperature for Jan. 9 is 33 degrees, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 29 in Boston; 24 in Chicago; 32 in St. Louis; 53 in Houston; 19 in Calgary, Alberta; 42 in Seattle; and 55 in Burbank, California.