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Bastardi: Winter to Linger Across Northeast

Natural gas and electric heating demand might continue a little longer than normal this year as much of the United States is expected to experience colder-than-normal temperatures through March and April, according to AccuWeather.com Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi.

It will be a "reluctant spring in areas that have had the hardest winter," Bastardi said. Although several temporary warm-ups are expected along the East Coast in the next few weeks, a North Atlantic oscillation pattern will lead to storminess throughout the region and bring more winter weather to the Northeast.

"Each warm surge that we see in the next couple of weeks won't be the true end of winter," Bastardi said.

Bastardi did not rule of the possibility of one or two storms hitting the mid-Atlantic before the end of the winter weather season. He said March and April will be colder than normal, but temperatures should be above normal across much of the country by May.

It will be an early spring for West Texas into Arizona and the southern Rockies, Bastardi said.

A recent long-range forecast by WSI Corp. of Andover, MA, called for warmer-than-normal temperatures to dominate the Southeast through April, with colder-than-normal temperatures in place across much of the rest of the country (see NGI, Feb. 2). The WSI forecast was generally in line with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast, which predicted that developing La Nina conditions -- the cooling of ocean surface temperatures off the western coast of South America, which have been found to disrupt normal weather patterns in the United States -- would likely continue into spring, potentially bringing below-average temperatures to the Pacific Northwest and above-average temperatures across much of the South at least until March (see NGI, Jan. 12).

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