By: Ben Hohenstatt |

Unseasonable weather has made this April has been one cruel month.

There have been 16 days with highs lower than the historic average, according to Weather Underground. This week began with flurries of snow.

The persistent cold weather has meant an increased use of natural gas consumption, according to figures shared by Ameren. On average, this April has been 9.2 degrees colder than usual in the Illinois Valley.

“Usage for the first half of April is approximately 19 therms above normal,” said an Ameren spokesperson via email. “Using an estimate of 57 cents per therm), for the first half of April, the average natural gas bills have increased about $11 due to the colder than normal weather.”

However, the company added that if a customer was not heating their home with electricity there would be a much smaller impact.

The cool weather trend also was present to a lesser degree in March, Ameren said.

“During March temperatures were about 2 degrees below normal,” the spokesperson said. “A natural gas bill for March would be about $3 higher than normal.”

The cold spell may be close to over, according to Weather Underground.

Its forecast shows temperatures rising next week closer to historic averages in the low 60s.