By Brian K. Sullivan, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg
Temperatures may plummet across most of the U.S. next week as snow blankets parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.
Rogers’s forecast for Feb. 19 to Feb. 23 calls for temperatures to drop at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) below normal across the upper Great Plains and Midwest and 3 degrees below normal from California to Maine.
A storm may arrive with the cold in the Chicago area at the end of next week, according to computer models, he said.
"Too early to say on details, but it could be a significant accumulation for them if the storm travels just to the south of them," Rogers, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said in an e-mail interview.
February accounts for about 23 percent of the U.S. heating season, so colder-than-normal weather in the large cities of the Midwest and Northeast can boost energy use and influence heating oil and natural gas markets.
A large snowfall in Chicago would push the city closer to what it normally receives in a year. Since Dec. 1, 10.7 inches (27.2 centimeters) have fallen at O’Hare International Airport, 12.9 fewer than normal, according to National Weather Service records through yesterday.
As cold weather sweeps across most of the U.S., the Gulf Coast will probably stay seasonal, Rogers said. From Feb. 24 to Feb. 28, eastern Canada and the six New England states may warm while the majority of the U.S. has seasonal weather. The area from Connecticut to Maine, including Boston, may have average temperatures 3 to 5 degrees above normal, Rogers said.