By Brian K. Sullivan
BOSTON - The western U.S. may be warmer than normal through next week while the East Coast cools down, forecasters said.
An area including parts of California and stretching to Iowa and Missouri is expected to be 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 to 5.6 Celsius) above normal from April 24 to April 28, according to David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.
Temperatures will probably average about 6 degrees below normal from New York to South Carolina, Salmon said.
Commodities traders watch temperature forecasts to gauge energy use and demand. About 51 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.
Demand for natural gas from electricity generators peaks in the summer months to meet air conditioning needs. Power plants consumed about 31 percent of U.S. gas supplies in 2011, department data show.
Computer forecast models have been inconsistent for predictions beyond April 28, wavering between cooler and warmer outlooks, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
“The complicated pattern situation continues to offer a curvy road in the expectations game with frequent shifts in forecast thinking,” Rogers said in a note to clients.
In his 11- to 15-day outlook, Rogers said he expects an area from the Pacific Northwest to Georgia and South Carolina to be warmer than normal from April 28 to May 2.
The warmest area may be from eastern Idaho to northern Georgia, where temperatures are expected to be 5 degrees above normal.
The normal average temperature for April 19 in New York is about 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 Celsius), according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
It’s 50 in Boston, 51 in Chicago, 59 in St. Louis, 63 in Atlanta, 64 in Dallas, 70 in Houston, 51 in Seattle and 62 in Burbank, California.