A week-long blast of Arctic air promises to grip the U.S. Midwest and Northeast next week, sending temperatures below freezing from Chicago to New York City and boosting energy demand.
The cold that will arrive in the upper Midwest this weekend is expected to start pushing temperatures down in Chicago starting on Jan. 21, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Lows are expected to reach 3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16 Celsius) in Chicago on Jan. 22, and the next day New York may fall to 16, while Boston reaches 12, Philadelphia 15 and Washington 18, according to MDA.
“All signs are pointing toward a strong blast of cold air surging southward through the eastern half of North America next week,” said Bob Haas, a meteorologist at MDA. “Sharp increases in heating demand to levels we haven’t seen so far this winter, or last winter, should come along with it.”
Temperatures are forecast to be 8 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 to 8.3 Celsius) below normal across the Midwest, Northeast, Ontario and Quebec from Jan. 20 to 24, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The temperature may reach below zero across a large part of the Midwest, including Chicago, during the same time frame, Rogers said.
“Next week’s impressive cold is intensified in our forecasts today for the Midwest and South,” Rogers said in a note to clients. “The models are in excellent agreement on the event and suggest even colder readings than we currently show at the peak.”
Oil rose to the highest level in almost four months in New York yesterday partly because of the anticipated increase in demand for heating fuels as temperatures plummet. Natural gas, used to heat about 50 percent of the nation’s households, climbed to a two-week high on forecasts for cold.
Both MDA and Rogers expect the cold to start loosening its grip by the end of January. However in yesterday’s eight- to 14-day forecast, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said there is a 60 percent chance temperatures will remain below normal from the Great Lakes into New York and New England.