Lingering Cold in Eastern U.S. May Boost Heating Energy Demand

Lingering cold in the eastern U.S. may keep heating demand higher than usual through early April, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

Temperatures will be at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 Celsius) degrees below normal across most of the U.S., falling as much as 8 degrees lower from Minnesota to Georgia, including Chicago, March 27 to 31, according to Rogers.

“The Midwest is probably seeing its coldest weather this week, but the South and East could see the coldest conditions of the forecast period this weekend into next week overall,” Rogers said today in a note to clients. “That means lingering above-normal late-season heating demand for the Midwest, East, and sometimes the Deep South too.”

March is the traditional end of the heating season that starts in November and accounts for the highest natural gas use each year. Extended cold in the large population centers of the Midwest and East helps boost prices for heating fuels. About 50 percent of U.S. households use gas for warmth.

Heating demand will be increased by low overnight temperatures, said Rogers, who’s based in Bethesda, Maryland.

The low temperature in Chicago on March 27 is expected to be 25 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius), according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The normal average temperature for the city on that date is 42.

In New York, the low may reach 34 on March 27; in Boston, 31; and in Atlanta the low that day may reach 34, MDA said.

Rogers said Houston may experience a low of 39 on March 26.

From April 1 to April 5, temperatures will probably be 3 degrees below normal in most of the eastern U.S., according to Rogers. The Northeast, including New York, is expected to have more seasonal temperatures, he said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.