(Adds natural gas prices in fifth paragraph.)
Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Another blast of freezing air is forecast for the central and eastern U.S. this week as two storms threaten to bring disruptive snow to the Northeast.
“Arctic air looks to make a return to the Northeast and Midwest this week following some of the warmest weather the regions have had so far this year,” AccuWeather Inc. said on its website. “Much of the Northeast and Midwest will be dry and noticeably colder on Monday.”
Milder weather across the Northeast over the weekend pushed temperatures into the 60s Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) in Washington and Philadelphia and the 50s in New York City and Boston, AccuWeather said. Highs today will be 10 to 20 degrees colder, the State College, Pennsylvania-based forecaster said. Low temperatures in New York are forecast at 22 Fahrenheit tonight, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures are dropping as the polar vortex, a mass of cold air that is usually kept above the Arctic Circle by strong winds, drops southward. They may slide to a record low in the High Plains, the upper Midwest and Great Lakes, according to the weather service.
Natural gas futures rose to their highest in more than five years. Gas for March delivery climbed as much as 5.6 percent to trade at $6.478 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“A series of quick-hitting disturbances” will spread some snow across the Midwest and Northeast through Feb. 25, AccuWeather said on its website. Meteorologists are monitoring whether a storm moving through the Midwest meets with another traveling across the South, potentially bringing “disruptive” snow to the Northeast starting Feb. 26, the forecaster said.
“If the storms remain separate until reaching Atlantic Canada, the snow will remain on the lighter side across the Northeast and will only be a nuisance to motorists on Wednesday,” it said. “Steadier and heavier snow would unfold if the storms begin to combine over the Northeast.”
Frigid air will dive south and east from the Northern Plains throughout the week, the Weather Service said in a bulletin on its website.
“By Wednesday, most of the Great Lakes will have single digit high temperatures and parts of the Tennessee Valley will struggle to rise above freezing,” it said.
--With assistance from Alexander Kwiatkowski in Singapore. Editors: Sharon Lindores, Dan Weeks