Temperatures in the eastern U.S. will probably stay below normal through the start of November, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC.
Readings from the Great Plains to the East Coast are expected to be at least 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit lower than usual today until Nov. 4, Rogers said. Computer forecast models predict cold air will cross the central and eastern U.S. in waves as October ends and November begins.
The last big cold push is about eight to 12 days away, and "it does run the risk of being stronger, especially for the Midwest," Rogers said. Temperatures are expected to fall at least 5 degrees below normal in the region this week, he said.
Below-normal temperatures tend to increase energy consumption because more people turn up thermostats to heat homes and businesses. November marks the start of the cooling season, when most natural gas is burned in the U.S.
Power generation accounts for 32 percent of U.S. gas demand, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. About 49 percent of all homes use the fuel for heating.
Frost and freeze alerts were posted today for northern Illinois and Indiana, including Chicago, according to the National Weather Service. Highs in Chicago will remain in the mid-40s through the week with lows in the 30s and a chance of light snow tomorrow.
Chicago’s temperatures will be at least 13 degrees below normal tomorrow and the day after, said MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The normal average temperature in New York for Oct. 30 is about 54 degrees, according to MDA. In Boston, it’s 50; in St. Louis, 55; Dallas, 64; Chicago, 48; and in Burbank, California, it’s 64.