Cold, dry air that has sent the U.S. Northeast into a deep freeze may protect it from any significant snow later this week, said Rob Carolan, a meteorologist and founder of Hometown Forecast Services Inc.
Temperatures across upstate New York today included minus 23 Fahrenheit (minus 31 Celsius) in Saranac Lake and minus 13 in Fort Drum, representative of the cold that is descending onto the Midwest and Northeast, Carolan said from Nashua, New Hampshire. Central Park had 11 degrees at 8 a.m., while Chicago’s temperature was 13, the National Weather Service said.
It was minus 2 Fahrenheit in Toronto and minus 16 in Montreal, according to Environment Canada.
“The air is so cold and so dense and so dry it is going to kind of deflect this storm to the south,” Carolan said by telephone. “It’s looking much less likely that it will be a big storm.”
Low temperatures in the large cities of the Midwest and East boost energy consumption as residents seek to heat homes and businesses.
Temperatures will be about 8 degrees below normal through the Ohio Valley and Northeast and 15 degrees lower than usual in southern Ontario and Quebec through the end of week, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The frigid air represents the coldest weather of the year in the East, Rogers said.
“In terms of daily national demand, we are approaching levels not seen since February 2011,” Rogers said in an e-mail interview today.
Last winter was the fourth-warmest on record in the U.S. and that helped push natural gas prices to a 10-year low. About 50 percent of U.S. households use the fuel for heating, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The storm expected to develop in the East may mean some snow in New York City after 3 p.m. on Jan. 25, the weather service said. Carolan said he expects little accumulation in New York and elsewhere along the East Coast because of how dry the cold air is.
There may be a different result in the areas bordering the Great Lakes, where cold air crossing the open waters kicks off heavy snowstorms, Carolan said. Lake-effect snow warnings and advisories are posted in western Michigan, New York and northern Ohio, according to the weather service.
By next week, temperatures in the Northeast may return to more seasonal levels while rising 3 to 5 degrees above normal in the mid-Atlantic states and across the Ohio Valley, Rogers said. A second round of frigid air is expected to drop back into the eastern U.S. from Feb. 2-6, which may push temperatures to 8 degrees below normal throughout eastern Canada and the Northeast, he said.