Eastern U.S. to stay warmer than normal through mid-January

Warmer than normal weather in the eastern U.S. through mid-January probably will cut demand for natural gas and heating oil.

The high temperature in New York City may reach 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 Celsius) on Jan. 12, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Philadelphia may have a high of 59 and Washington may reach 63 on the same day.

The period from November to March is when the most fuel is used for heating in the U.S.; the higher temperatures have sent natural gas prices lower for the third day in New York. Prices dropped to $3.05 in electronic trading on Jan. 1, the least since Sept. 28, before rebounding.

“You are going to have really suppressed heating demand in the big cities,” said Travis Hartman, MDA’s energy weather manager and meteorologist. “What we have seen in December and now in January doesn’t spell too much good for the heating season of 2012-2013.”

Average temperatures should be eight to 14 degrees above normal across the entire eastern part of the country from Jan. 8 to Jan. 12, MDA said. Temperatures will remain 5 to 7 degrees above normal from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, MDA said.

Frigid air will dominate the western U.S. and Canada from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17 and remain there, pinned by larger weather patterns, MDA forecast.

In New York, the normal average temperature for Jan. 9 is about 33 degrees, according to MDA. It’s 29 in Boston; 24 in Chicago; 32 in St. Louis; 53 in Houston; 19 in Calgary, Alberta; 42 in Seattle; and 55 in Burbank, California.

Bloomberg News

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