Weather forecasts called for initial moderate temperatures throughout major population centers, but temperatures were forecast to steadily decline throughout the five-day period.
Prices in New England posted solid gains as weather forecasts, although initially projecting moderate temperatures, showed those temps working lower throughout the period. Forecaster Wunderground.com said Boston's Wednesday high of 50 was expected to reach 56 Thursday, but the high on Monday was expected to be a much chillier 36, 3 degrees below normal. New York City's 60 high on Wednesday was seen easing to 54 Thursday, but by Monday the forecast high was 40, 1 degree below normal. Philadelphia's Wednesday high of 60 was predicted to slide to 51 Thursday before reaching 49 Monday.
Gas at the Algonquin Citygates for Wednesday-Monday delivery gained $1.40 to $3.62, and gas on Iroquois Waddington rose 12 cents to $3.14. Gas on Tennessee Zone 6 200 L rose $1.41 to $3.83.
Mid-Atlantic pricing showed a mixed picture. Gas bound for New York City on Transco Zone 6 fell 27 cents to $1.39, but packages on Tetco M-3 added 12 cents to $1.25.
The Midwest and nation's mid-section were also seen enduring a similar temperature pattern. Wunderground.com forecast that Chicago's Wednesday high of 43 would ease to 40 on Thursday before dropping to 33 on Monday, the seasonal norm. Omaha, NE's 37 high Wednesday was seen reaching 46 Thursday, but by Monday the expected high was predicted at 20, 13 degrees below normal.
On Alliance, Thursday-Monday gas fell 2 cents to $2.90, and at the Chicago Citygates parcels changed hands at $2.82, down 10 cents. On Consumers, gas added 3 cents to $3.05, and at Demarcation five-day packages fell 5 cents to $2.81.
Northeast weather patterns were expected to be turbulent. "Following a wet, mild Christmas Eve across much of the Northeast, a windy and chillier Christmas Day is on the way," said Brian Thompson, an AccuWeather.com meteorologist.
"Christmas morning, though, will still be very mild along the I-95 corridor, where temperatures in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington will be near 60. Temperatures will then fall into the 40s during the afternoon. Across the interior Northeast, temperatures will go from near or above 50 on Wednesday to the 30s for much of Christmas Day.
"Even though temperatures will fall Christmas Day, the wind will be the big story throughout the Northeast, with gusts over 40 mph. According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Babinski, "The strongest wind gusts will be across upstate New York and northern New England, closer to the departing storm system in eastern Canada."
Midcontinent quotes were solidly in the red. Gas for delivery to the NGPL Midcontinent Pool fell 10 cents to $2.54, and gas on NGPL TX OK came in 20 cents lower at $2.56. Packages on Panhandle Eastern fell 23 cents to $2.53, and deliveries to OGT shed 26 cents to $2.44.
Forecasts overnight turned slightly cooler. WSI Corp. in its Wednesday morning six- to 10-day outlook said, "[Wednesday's] forecast is generally colder than the previous forecast across the majority of the nation due in part to the day shift. Forecast confidence is average as there remains good model agreement and consistency that a colder pattern will emerge. However, there are still usual technical and timing differences. There may remain a slight downside risk across a good portion of the nation, except for California."
The below-normal temperatures are far from the bone-rattling cold of last year's polar vortex. According to WSI, in one week the three-day highs in Chicago are forecast at 19, 18 and 22, a little more than 10 degrees off the normal high of 32. Detroit is expected to see highs of 21, 24 and 21. The seasonal high in Detroit is 33.