Being a contrarian at heart...perhaps it's time to 'gamble' with D. Please don't follow suit as I lose more 'bets' than profit by's the addiction...;>) - Natural gas futures shot up on Tuesday after weather forecasts predicted a fresh winter blast to grip the heavily populated central and eastern reaches of the U.S.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March traded at USD3.385 per million British thermal units, up 2.13%.

The commodity hit a session low of USD3.318 and a high of USD3.389.

A warming trend taking place in the U.S. might not last for every long.

The Commodity Weather Group said below-normal temperatures will sweep into parts of the Midwest over the next 11-to-15 days.

Weather service provider AccuWeather said that it expected the low in Chicago on February 15 to be 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 Celsius), 12 degrees below normal.

Natural gas futures are very sensitive to weather reports in the U.S. winter.
The U.S. heating season running from November through March sees peak demand for gas.

About half of U.S. households use gas for heating purposes, according to Energy Department data.

Less-than-bullish inventory figures dampened the rally.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.802 trillion cubic feet as of last week, 6.7% below last year’s level, but 12.2% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Early withdrawal estimates for this week’s storage data range from 127 billion cubic feet to 173 billion cubic feet.

Inventories fell by 94 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 165 billion cubic feet.

If withdrawals for the rest of winter season match the five-year average pace, inventories will end the heating season at 2.032 trillion cubic feet, nearly 18% above normal, but 18% below last year's end-winter record of 2.48 trillion cubic feet.