Cold winds, tepid economy

Despite occasional cold snaps, the US generally has experienced higher-than-average temperatures so far this winter. But during the first week of the New Year, meteorologists at forecast waves of frigid air from the North Pole may move south across North America by mid-January, producing much lower temperatures and spurring demand for natural gas and heating oil from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast. They reported a phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warming recently occurred in the arctic region, 6-30 miles above ground. That in turn forced a buildup of cold air in the lowest layer of the atmosphere that is expected to drive south soon. "The problem is ...

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