Cold snaps to attention, but heating oil costs dip

Forecasters expect colder-than-normal weather will be sticking around for a while.

But there’s a flurry of good news to counter the cold.

While New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson said a dip in the jet stream will keep temperatures about 10 degrees below normal for the next week or two in the region, he doesn’t anticipate any snow over that time.

“When the next cold shot of air comes in, it might be on the dry side. So there’s no big storms looming on the horizon,” he said.

And even as the furnaces kick on during the cold snap, homeowners may be getting a break.

A drop in worldwide demand has pushed the price of crude oil down more than $30 a barrel, and that’s led to lower costs for home hearing oil, said Tom Kloza, the head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey,

“We’re seeing the heating oil prices about $3.25 or so, but if you shop around you’ll probably get something close to $3 for the season,” he said. “That’s about a dollar less than what many homeowners paid last year.”

Unless a polar vortex sends severe and prolonged frigid weather this way, home heating prices should stay about where they are for the rest of this fall and winter.

When the snow does arrive, New Jersey is prepared with ample supplies of salt, according Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

“The New Jersey DOT has the capacity to store 164,000 tons of salt, and we’re starting the winter at 100 percent of our capacity,” he said. “We’re adding … 20,000 tons of capacity, which will be available this winter as well.”

The state has also tripled the number of brine applicators available to prevent snow and ice from adhering to road surfaces.

New Jersey spent $128 million to keep the roads clear last winter.

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