Eastern U.S. to Be Locked in Cold Until Start of February

Colder temperatures will grip the most of the eastern U.S. and Canada through the start of February, according to forecasters.

The region is expected to have readings about 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) below normal through Feb. 2, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Colder weather is forecast across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley from today through Jan. 28, said Rogers and MDA Weather Services of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Below-normal temperatures in the high population areas of the U.S. Northeast and Midwest boost energy demand as more people turn up their thermostats to heat homes and businesses. Natural gas is heading for its biggest weekly gain since September 2012 as frigid weather persists.

Temperatures in Houston fell to 29 today as an ice storm moved through the area, according to the National Weather Service. Winter storm and hard freeze warnings stretched from Texas to Georgia.

Above-normal temperatures are expected in Florida and southern Georgia from Feb. 3 to 7, according to MDA. Seasonal readings are forecast along the East Coast from New England to North Carolina during that time.

Rogers said the pattern this year has been for blasts of cold air followed by moderating temperatures. There are indications blocks may be developing over the Arctic and Greenland. That can lead to frigid air being bottled up over the U.S. and Canada, making the warm breaks weaker and shorter.

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