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Wintry Storm Expected to Chill Thanksgiving Travelers

A man walks with an umbrella near the Bethesda Fountain in New York's Central Park. Photographer: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images
A man walks with an umbrella near the Bethesda Fountain in New York's Central Park. Photographer: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A storm may sweep up the East Coast as temperatures drop next week, bringing cold and rain to travelers on the road for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

Computer models show a storm developing by midweek, Rogers said. Rain will fall in the big cities of the Northeast, while some interior areas may have snow.

“This could change if the early week cold gets trapped in,” Rogers said in e-mail interview from Bethesda, Maryland. It is “worth watching.”

Heavy rain, winds and snow can disrupt air travel across the U.S. especially if storms strike airports in New York and New Jersey. The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, on Nov. 28 for 2013, is one of the busiest travel times of the year.

Temperatures from Texas to New York and New England may be at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) below normal from Nov. 25 to 29, Rogers said in his forecast. Readings may be about 5 degrees below average in Chicago and the upper Midwest.

Below-normal temperatures, especially in Eastern and Midwestern cities, tend to increase energy consumption as more people heat homes and businesses. November marks the start of the U.S. heating season, when natural gas demand peaks.

Power generation accounts for 32 percent of U.S. gas use, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. About 49 percent of all homes use the fuel for heating.

The normal average temperature in New York on Nov. 27 is about 45 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston, it’s 42; in St. Louis, 41; Dallas, 52; Houston, 59; Chicago, 35; Burbank, California, 57; and in Calgary, it’s 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

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