The winter storm blanketing the Northeast and forecasts for a frigid February are boosting natural-gas prices. Natural-gas futures rose 11.1% to close at $2.85 per million British thermal units on Monday. That is 57% higher than a year ago, when the weather was uncommonly warm, yet still about 15% below the price to start this heating season.“An unusually strong response to weekend adjustments to the short-term temperature forecasts,” said Ritterbusch and Associates. The trading firm said prices could approach $3 this month if the weather outlook materializes.

Furnaces are firing in the Northeast, where snow started piling up over the weekend. But in much of the country temperatures will remain mild, according to That should change next week, when an Arctic blast is expected to blow into the Rockies, across the Great Plains and past the Great Lakes. The industry forecaster predicts temperatures will drop low enough in North Texas and other gas-producing regions to freeze well heads and block output.

The energy-focused investment bank estimates about 5 billion cubic feet more will be burned heating U.S. homes and businesses this week compared with last. An icy ending to winter could draw down stockpiles from around five-year highs to closer to where they normally end winter. Tudor Pickering expects natural gas to trade around $3.25 this summer.

Others aren’t so bullish. BofA Securities recently lowered its 2021 average-price forecast to $3.10, from $3.30. RBC Capital Markets last week revised its prediction to $2.79, from $2.86.