Midwest Chill to Persist Into May; Storms Threaten South

Below-normal temperatures are forecast to cool the U.S. Midwest through the first week of May, while storms today threaten the South with tornadoes.

Temperatures across the Midwest are expected to be 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 to 2.7 Celsius) lower than average from Montana to Ohio from May 3 to 7, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“We are still in the time of year when cool anomalies in the Midwest can marginally enhance late-season overnight heating demand,” Rogers said in his forecast today.

Temperature swings in high population areas of the U.S. can influence energy prices by boosting heating or cooling use. Power generation accounts for 32 percent of U.S. natural gas demand, according to the Energy Information Administration. About 49 percent of all homes use the fuel for heating.

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are predicted today in the South, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center. Parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, home to about 3.1 million people, are at greatest risk of the storms, which may also bring damaging wind gusts and hail, the center said.

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