Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Temperatures are expected to plunge from the Midwest to the East Coast next week, reaching below zero Fahrenheit in Chicago and boosting energy demand across much of the eastern U.S.
Forecasters expect average temperatures from the Midwest to New England to be at least 8 degrees below normal from Jan. 21 to 30 from a two-part shot of arctic air, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Chicago’s low may fall to minus 4 (minus 20 Celsius) by Jan. 22. Forecast lows on Jan. 23 include 12 in New York, 8 in Boston and 23 in Atlanta.
“The latest guidance is really revving up next week’s cold risks,” said Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. “We had to push Chicago to almost sub-zero temperatures and the Northeast to single-digit lows for the peak of the cold push, offering a significant demand gain from yesterday’s outlook.”
Below-normal temperatures, especially in Eastern and Midwestern cities, drive up use of natural gas and heating oil as more people heat homes and businesses. Cold that reaches into the U.S. South can boost electric demand because many homes there use it for heat.
There’s also a chance the Northeast, from New York to Boston, will pick up 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of snow, Rogers said.
A week ago, temperatures across much of the Midwest fell well below zero and single-digit readings reached far into the South. Thousands of flights were canceled, energy demand jumped and refineries and pipelines suffered disruptions.
Rogers said it is too early to say whether the Northeast will be frigid on Feb. 2, when the National Football League holds its Super Bowl championship game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The pattern for the season has been cold outbreaks followed by milder weather, so readings may be rising by the time the game is played, he said.
Today, a winter storm is making its way across the upper Midwest. Blizzard warnings are in place in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, where wind gusts are expected to reach 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.
--Editors: Richard Stubbe, David Marino