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By Brian K. Sullivan
BOSTON - Cold will sweep across the eastern U.S. starting this weekend, driving temperatures at least 3 degrees Fahrenheit below normal from the Great Plains to the Atlantic.
The bulk of the cold will linger from Feb. 16 to Feb. 20, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures in the Great Lakes and eastern Canada are expected to fall 5 degrees below normal.
From Feb. 21 to Feb. 25, the weather in the eastern U.S. is expected to return to seasonal norms, Rogers said.
“We are still watching a few storm risks that could alter details and amplify cold behind them in the East, including one this holiday weekend,” Rogers said in a note to clients.
Cold weather in the large cities of the East and Midwest can boost natural gas and heating oil prices. February demand usually accounts for about 23 percent of seasonal heating totals, said Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in New York, and about 50 percent of U.S. homes and businesses use natural gas for warmth.