MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures rose sharply on Wednesday, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data to gauge supply and demand levels.U.S. natural gas for April delivery jumped 10.1 cents, or around 3.6% to $2.925 per million British thermal units by 9:50 AM ET (14:50 GMT), nearing a three-week high of $2.952 touched on Monday. Market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw of around 59 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 3. That compares with a build of 7 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a decline of 57 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 136 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.363 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 7.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 12.5% above the five-year average for this time of year. Meanwhile, traders continued to monitor shifting weather forecasts to gauge demand for the fuel. Weather forecasts for the next 8-to-15 days showed that rain, snow, and cool temperatures will track across the northern and eastern U.S., boosting demand expectations for the heating fuel. At the same time, the southern half of the U.S. will be warmer than normal as high pressure dominates with highs reaching the 60 s to 80 s Fahrenheit. Prices of the heating fuel are down around 22% so far this year as forecasts for warm winter weather weighed on heating demand expectations. Based on data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, this year’s extremely warm winter has pushed heating demand for natural gas to nearly 20% below average.