By Brian K. Sullivan
BOSTON - Warm weather may cut the amount of energy normally needed for heating at this time of year by 60 to 80 percent across the eastern U.S. early next week, said David Salmon of Weather Derivatives.
Temperatures from the upper Great Plains to the East Coast, including New York City and Chicago, are expected to be 10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 to 16.7 Celsius) above normal from March 17 to March 23, Salmon said.
The West Coast to the Rocky Mountains may be at least 2 degrees cooler than normal, said Salmon, in Belton, Missouri.
Traders watch temperature predictions to gauge energy use and demand. Warm weather will drive up electricity use as people turn on air conditioners. About 51 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.
Temperatures in the Midwest will probably drop somewhat as a storm front moves through the central U.S. during the period, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
“The models are struggling in handling the future of an upper-level low feature that promises to drench Texas early next week,” Rogers said in a note to clients.
That system may spark thunderstorms across the Great Plains and into Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The normal average temperature in New York on March 21 is about 44 degrees, according to MDA. It’s 40 in Boston and Chicago, 48 in St. Louis, 56 in Atlanta, 59 in Dallas, 64 in Houston, 48 in Seattle, and 59 in Burbank, California.