Natural gas prices rose to the highest levels in nearly a month Tuesday as Americans braced for another record-breaking day of low temperatures amid one of the worst cold snaps in decades.
The U.S. National Weather Service has warned of "dangerously cold wind chills" in certain parts of the east coast and mid-west this week as a front continues to ice cities from Maine to Texas, bringing record-low temperatures and a surge in heating fuel demand.
"Bitter cold wind chills continue across the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Northeast, New England and Mid-Atlantic," the NWS said in an update on its website. "Freezing temperatures reach all the way to southern Texas and central Florida. The cold air will begin to moderate early this week. Heavy Lake Effect snow continues downwind of the Great Lakes."
Natural gas future for February delivery traded more than 4% higher than their Friday closing price in early European hours, taking benchmark prices to $3.09 per million British Thermal Unit (BTUs), the highest since Dec. 4, before paring gains to around $3.012 per million BTUs by 7:45 am eastern.
Reuters is forecasting a 14.5% increase, to 136.3 billion cubic feet per day, this week as Americans hunker down for an arctic blast that has brought temperatures to as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit in Omaha, Nebraska, the coldest in more than 130 years.
The city of Chicago, Illinois, also recorded its coldest-even New Year's Day, with temperatures only hitting a high of -1 degrees while the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League played the coldest game in franchise history, with a kick-off wind-chill of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The New England Patriots also played their coldest regular season game in history Sunday, topping the New York Jets 26-6 in a 2017-ending finale that kicked off with an on-field temperature of -13 degrees.
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