Frigid Air Makes an Encore Visit to U.S. by Month’s End

Temperatures are expected remain seasonal throughout the U.S. East and above-normal in the West for the next 10 days before another blast of arctic air sweeps out of Canada, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

In about 14 to 15 days, frigid air will break out of Canada and start pushing its way into the U.S. as ridge of high pressure begins building over the Gulf of Alaska, said Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland. The cold will begin reaching the U.S. with force on Jan. 26 and 27.

“This has been a recurring theme this winter, and it usually means we should expect another major outpouring of arctic air,” Rogers said in his forecast today. “Based on its look and climatology, it could indeed rival last week’s event.”

Temperatures across much of the Midwest fell well below zero Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius) and single-digit readings reached far into the South. The cold contributed to thousands of flights canceled, a boost in energy demand and disruptions for refineries and pipelines.

For the next five days, readings in the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada, as well as the western part of both countries, are expected to be above-normal, while seasonal temperatures dominate the center, Rogers said.

Average temperatures from eastern Ontario to Virginia, including New York and Washington, will be about 5 degrees above normal, and even higher from Quebec to Maine and the rest of New England.

Degree-Days Value

The U.S. natural-gas weighted heating-degree day value for the week is expected to be 188, or 38 below normal and 10 less than last year, according to the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

The value measures anticipated energy demand by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, the results being modified to give those areas that burn natural gas more importance. The higher the value, the lower the temperatures and the more of the fuel that will likely be used.

Below-normal temperatures, especially in Eastern and Midwestern cities, tend to increase energy consumption as more people heat homes and businesses, while above-normal readings often lead to relaxed demand.

About 49 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

After this week, temperatures are expected to become more seasonal in the eastern U.S. with parts of the South falling about 3 degrees below normal from Jan. 18 to 22, Rogers said. Lower temperatures across the South can boost electricity demand because many homes in the region use that method for heating.

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