Early Winter an Early Omen
related: United States Facing a Cold Winter
Forget the Gas Pump -- Heating Bills May Be the Killer This Winter
October 8, 2008
The AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast released today does not contain good news for homeowners in the East. Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi says, "The winter as a whole in the population-dense eastern third of the nation will be a one-two punch of higher heating prices and lower temperatures."
According to Bastardi, the overall colder and snowier winter will be off to a cold start in December with perhaps the roughest winter month for much of the nation. It may finish with another cold spell in late January and February.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced on Tuesday that the combination of a colder winter and tight fuel supplies will result in a 15 percent increase in the average household heating fuel costs compared last winter.
The EIA report says the average household expenditures for all heating fuels this winter are projected to be $1,137 for the period from October 1 to March 31, compared to an estimated $986 last winter.
Heating oil and natural gas customers will feel the biggest pinch. The EIA says oil customers will spend 23 percent more this winter, natural gas costs on average will be 18 percent higher, and the cost of heating with propane will climb by 11 percent.
Photo: Zach Conway pulls the filling hose away from his tanker truck in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008. Homeowners already pinched by high food and gas prices are getting anxious about projected record-high home heating bills. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Cool air will spread across the northern Rockies today in the wake of a cold front. Temperatures will drop further on Thursday as the coldest air of the season begins to arrive.
The cold air mass will spread throughout the West by Saturday as the jet stream and a storm system plunge southward. Most places will experience the coldest high temperatures since last spring.
The high today in Palm Springs, Calif., will be 103 degrees. On Saturday, the high will be only reach 77 degrees. The last time temperatures in Palm Springs, Calif., failed to reach the 80s was May 26.
The West Regional News story reports that the Southwest will remain warm today. An offshore flow will add to the warmth across Southern California, with the temperature approaching the 90-degree mark in downtown Los Angeles.
Temperatures sizzled across Southern California on Tuesday. Downtown Los Angeles reached 97 degrees, while the official high at Los Angeles International Airport reached 92 degrees, 17 degrees above normal for early October.
The upcoming cold shot across the Southwest will produce gusty winds wrapping around the bottom of the storm system. Western Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark strong winds will blast Southern California and the Desert Southwest.
Clark warns that the fire danger for some will reach extreme levels by Friday. "The cold storm aloft to the east will make this a cool Santa Ana through Sunday. As that storm moves northeast by Monday and Tuesday, noticeable warming takes place with Monday being a much warmer day with 80s to near 90 and even warmer temperatures with less wind on Tuesday."
The storm will tap into enough moisture to bring an extended period of chilly rain to the northern Plains from Thursday into the weekend. Cold air over the northern Rockies will add wet snow to the cold rain.
Significant snow accumulations are possible in the higher terrain of the northern Rockies. Cities in the lower elevations, including Casper, Wyo., and Billings, Mont., could also receive the first significant snow of the season, while the track of the storm should keep the snow north of Denver, Colo.
Snow is not unheard of in early October across the northern High Plains. A two-day snowstorm that began on October 8, 1982 dumped 3 to 6 feet of wet snow on the Black Hills of South Dakota.