The eastern U.S. will have one last deep freeze before March comes to an end.
From Montana to Maine and south to Alabama, average temperatures are expected to be at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) below normal March 24 to 28, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The Great Lakes region may see readings 15 degrees lower.
"A large-coverage cold air mass drops into the Midwest/Plains this weekend and then expands over the South and East by next week," Rogers said in a note to clients today.
Below-normal temperatures in the high-population areas of the Northeast and Midwest boost energy demand as homes and businesses seek heat. 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 all homes use the fuel for heating.
March marks the end of the U.S. heating season, which begins in November.
Colder weather is also expected to grip Canada from Alberta to the Maritimes starting early next week.
There’s a chance temperatures along the U.S. East Coast could fall even more as another snow storm moves through the region, said Weather Services International in Andover, Massachusetts.
Snow from next week’s storm "provides a scenario that favors strong radiational cooling later in the period," WSI’s Mickey Shuman said in a forecast.
Temperatures are expected to return to seasonal levels throughout the South by March 29 to April 2, while colder readings linger in the northern U.S. and Canada, Rogers said.
The normal average temperature in New York for March 27 is 46 degrees, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In Boston and Chicago it’s 42; in Washington and St. Louis, 50; and in Dallas, 61.