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Frigid Grip on U.S. to Relax Next Week Before Christmas Return

December 11, 2013
corn field with snow

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Frigid weather across most of the U.S. will ease next week before more polar air sweeps into the central part of the country in time for Christmas, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.

Temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to New York and as far south of Texas will dip below normal from Dec. 21 to 25, according to Rogers in Bethesda, Maryland. From Montana to Minnesota and south to Kansas, readings may be at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) below normal.

"Another round of stronger warming is possible into the Midwest/South, but especially the East Coast, ahead of another surge of arctic air," Rogers wrote in a forecast.

Below-normal temperatures, especially in Eastern and Midwestern cities, tend to increase energy consumption as more people heat homes and businesses. Readings are expected to be at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for much of the eastern U.S. and Canada for the rest of this week, Rogers said.

Some parts of central and eastern Canada may have temperatures 15 degrees lower than average.

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

The cold weather’s retreat into Canada from Dec. 16 to 20 doesn’t mean natural gas use will decline, Rogers said. Snow pack across the U.S. might bring temperatures down and cause "demand spike risks."


Snow Coverage

Currently, about 64 percent of the contiguous U.S. is covered by snow with an average depth of 3 inches, according to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center in Chanhassen, Wisconsin. Large areas of snow cover can cool air traveling over it.

Snow will probably arrive in the Northeast this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago may pick up at least 2 inches today.

The normal average temperature in New York on Dec. 11 is about 40 degrees, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In Boston, it’s 37; in St. Louis, 36; Dallas, 48; Houston, 55; Chicago, 29; Burbank, California, 54; and in Calgary, it’s 21.

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