WSI: A Return to More Moderate Winter Weather Ahead

Milder Temperatures, Especially Across the Southern US, Are More Likely After Wild December

ANDOVER, Mass. (December 19, 2013) — WSI (Weather Services International) expects the upcoming period (January-March) to be warmer than normal across most of the US, with the exception of parts of the north-central and northeastern states. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford: “As expected, the worst of the cold has been confined to northern latitudes in December, with above-normal temperatures confined to parts of the Southeast and Southwest. The very cold pattern is expected to relax a bit in late December, and we feel that the worst of the persistent extreme cold may be behind us as we head into the New Year. The current pulse of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) has disrupted the prevailing very cold pattern, and the evidence suggests it may not return, at least not to the magnitude observed during the last month. The polar vortex remains fairly strong, and our models suggest that it may not break down this year as it has so often over the last decade. If this is true, much of the country may be basking in warmer-than-normal temperatures for the remainder of the winter.”

In January, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast – Colder than normal north, warmer than normal south (including Boston to Washington DC corridor)
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central  – Warmer than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

According to Paul Flemming, Director of Power and Gas at ESAI Power LLC: “After a cold start to the winter season, warmer-than-normal weather in January will result in lower overall natural-gas demand than normally seen in January. In addition, warmer temperatures will ease congestion on the more constrained natural-gas pipelines in New England and eastern New York. Power demand will increase with seasonal temperatures in January although prices in most regions will be dampened by slightly lower power demand as well as a moderation in gas prices as a result of warmer temperatures.”
In February, WSI forecasts:

Northeast – Colder than normal north, warmer than normal south (including Boston to Washington DC corridor)
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central – Colder than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Colder than normal north (including Seattle), warmer than normal south (including Portland)
Southwest – Warmer than normal

Flemming added: “Colder-than-normal temperatures across the country’s northern tier could boost overall gas demand to slightly stronger-than-normal levels, although the coldest weather misses the larger population centers such as Chicago, New York and Boston. In addition, much warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Southeast and Southwest will also moderate gas demand, offsetting increased demand from the colder northern states. Energy prices and market heat-rates in most markets should be close to normal levels for February, except where pipeline constraints exist, such as in New England where delivered gas prices are becoming increasingly sensitive to the demand patterns of colder temperatures.”

In March, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Colder than normal west, warmer than normal I-95 corridor
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central – Colder than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

“March will see similar temperature distributions with colder weather in the North Central region and western portion of the Northeast, avoiding most of the major population centers. Overall warmer-than-normal temperatures across the eastern seaboard and much warmer-than-normal temperatures from the Gulf states to the West will dampen expectations for natural-gas demand as the end of the heating season approaches,” Flemming noted.

WSI provides customized weather information to global commodity traders via its industry-leading WSI Trader Web site. WSI will issue its next seasonal outlook on January 16.

About WSI Corporation
WSI (Weather Services International) and Weather Central are the world's leading providers of weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation, insurance and media markets, as well as multiple federal and state government agencies. Together they comprise the professional division of The Weather Company and are owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms, The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.

About ESAI
Since its inception in 1984, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) has been dedicated to monitoring, analyzing and synthesizing information about world-wide energy markets. Tapping the talents of its senior-level staff, ESAI provides clients with unparalleled insight into where the markets have been and where they are headed. ESAI provides ongoing systematic analysis of energy prices in the oil, natural gas and energy markets. For more information on ESAI services, see www.esai.com.

Media Contacts:

Linda Maynard
WSI
(978) 983-6715
lmaynard@wsi.com

Tommy Sutro
Energy Security Analysis, Inc.
(781) 245-2036
tsutro@esai.com