Frigid Weather Is Coming for New York

(Bloomberg) -- High temperatures in the Northeast are set to plunge 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (11 to 14 Celsius) below normal this week as frigid air already gripping the central U.S. spreads toward the Atlantic.

Temperatures held below zero across much of the upper Great Plains and Midwest and roiled power and natural gas markets. Mosby, Montana, posted a low of minus 44 degrees, according to the Weather Prediction Center. Wind chill and freeze watches and warnings stretch from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

While New York was warmer than normal during the usually harsh February, March is promising a frigid start.

“Any time you get 20 to 25 degree anomalies it is pretty cold,” said Bob Oravec, senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, by telephone. “You always think it is going to get warm in March, but the first few days of March are still in the dead of winter.”

Low temperatures are expected to linger through the middle of next week, offering a potential boost to power and gas markets at a time when demand for the fuels is usually tapering off. Suppliers will have to pull natural gas out of storage to meet heating needs at an unusually high rate for this late in the season, said Rick Margolin, a senior analyst at Genscape Inc.

While demand may dip by the end of next week, “we still see notably higher-than-normal levels running well into the middle of the month,” Margolin said.

The cold follows an overnight storm Sunday into Monday that dumped about about 3.8 inches (10 centimeters) of snow in New York’s Central Park. The winter blast overnight into Monday caused about 1,693 flights to be scrubbed through since Sunday, with 407 grounded in New York, Newark and Boston, which got about a foot of snow overnight, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company.

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