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Europe Set for Thaw Mid-April After Frosty Weather in March

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March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Freezing temperatures that disrupted flights and train services across swathes of northern Europe and boosted heating demand in March are set to last at least another two weeks, according to weather forecasters.

Germany, the U.K., France and the Nordic region will have to wait until mid-April for relief from the colder-than-usual weather, according to meteorologists at Deutscher Wetterdienst, WSI Corp., Meteogroup U.K. Ltd., MeteoMedia Germany GmbH and MDA Information Systems LLC. Temperatures in Germany were as much as 7 degrees Celsius (13 Fahrenheit) below normal in the week through March 23, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This month was the coldest March in the U.K. for 51 years, British forecaster the Met Office said today. Gas for next month in the U.K., the European benchmark for the heating fuel, rose to a four-year high March 26 while French power advanced 27 percent in March.

“By mid-April warmth should return to central and western Europe,” Bradley Harvey, an operational meteorologist at MDA, said by e-mail. “The warmth gains support from warm sea surface temperatures in the North and Tropical Atlantic.”

The average U.K. temperature will be 2.7 degrees Celsius through April 10, according to a GFS model supplied by MetraWeather at 10:40 a.m. London time. That compares with a seasonal norm of about 8 degrees for the coming week.

‘Strong Blocking’

In Germany, the average temperature is forecast to be 1 degree, the data show. The seasonal norm, based on records from 1961 to 1990, is about 16 degrees Celsius, Andreas Friedrich, a meteorologist at Deutsche Wetterdienst, said by telephone from Offenbach, Germany.

This year’s March has been the coldest in 25 years in Germany, Friedrich said. The average temperature in Germany in March was 0.2 degrees Celsius, 3.3 degrees below the norm, according to information from the Deutscher Wetterdienst. In some parts of northeastern Germany, it was the coldest March in 130 years, Friedrich added.

The NetConnect Germany month-ahead generic gas contract gained 9.3 percent to 28.85 euros a megawatt-hour in March, the biggest monthly increase in more than a year and half, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

A “strong blocking high pressure” from Greenland, Scandinavia and northwest Russia will keep temperatures low over the next 10 days, according to Stephen Davenport, a senior energy meteorologist in London at MeteoGroup.

Warmer May

In May, temperatures will be higher than usual, except in southern Europe, Andover, Massachusetts-based WSI said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The weather will be warmer than normal in June, except in the U.K., Benelux, northern France and parts of coastal Norway, the forecaster said.

U.K. gas for April gained 9 percent this month to 73.38 pence a therm on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after reaching 76.15 pence March 26, the highest for a month-ahead contract since November 2008. French April power rose 11.75 euros to 55 euros a megawatt-hour over the period, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rachel Morison in London at rmorison@bloomberg.net; Julia Mengewein in Frankfurt at jmengewein@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Verdonck at rverdonck@bloomberg.net

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