WSI: Continued Colder-than-Normal Temperatures Across the Northern US in February

‘Winter Fatigue’ May Set In as the Arctic Door Opens Again After Brief Mid-January Thaw


ANDOVER, Mass. (January 17, 2014) — WSI (Weather Services International) expects the upcoming period (February-April) to be colder than normal across most of the northern US, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest. Warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected elsewhere, especially in the Southwest. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford: “Persistent and strong ridging in the North Pacific has resulted in a very cold winter so far across the northern US. Although we did have a brief January thaw last week, the cold pattern is returning for late January as ridging builds again. The most recent dynamical models and our internal statistical models all suggest that this pattern will continue in February across the northern US. Heading into spring, we are monitoring the potential emergence of an El Nino event along with the building drought in the western US as two potential drivers in the spring/summer pattern.”

In February, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast – Colder than normal
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central – Colder than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal, except Washington
Southwest – Warmer than normal

According to Chris Kostas, Senior Power and Gas Analyst at ESAI Power LLC: “With February shaping up to be colder-than-normal in the Northeast and Great Lakes Region natural-gas demand will be strong. Considering strong February demand is following on the heels of strong demand in December and January natural-gas inventories will likely continue to be drawn down at a brisk pace. The shift in the seasonal forecast from the previously expected mild February temperatures in the Northeast to a colder one should help support gas prices as traders adjust risk. Combined with the large drawdowns seen in January, cold February temperatures would leave natural-gas inventories at relatively low levels heading into March. This would be bullish for already firm natural-gas prices. High natural-gas production rates (the EIA reported record production in their latest monthly report) and warmer-than-normal temperatures in the South and West should help to offset some of the increased demand from the Northeast and help to temper the rise in natural-gas prices in February, however.”

In March, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Colder than normal west, warmer than normal east (including Boston to Washington DC corridor)
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central – Colder than normal north, warmer than normal south
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

Kostas added: “With mild temperatures expected throughout much of the country in March natural-gas prices can be expected to ease lower from higher levels induced by the below-normal temperatures of January and February. While reduced natural-gas inventory levels at the end of the heating season would help to support prices, the spot market has shown significant price weakness during periods of slack demand. Weak power and gas prices can be expected in the Mid-Atlantic region where Marcellus natural-gas production has helped to crush spreads to Henry Hub recently. Negative daily prices spreads between TETCO M3 and Henry Hub have been observed during mild days in January, for example. Weak power and gas prices can also be expected in the South and West where heating demand is expected to be very soft due to mild March temperatures.”

In April, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Colder than normal
Southeast – Warmer than normal
North Central – Colder than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

Kostas continued: “A mixed picture is developing for April with slightly colder-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and Great Lakes Region and warmer-than-normal temperatures in the South and West. Weather-related demand is typically light in April so the effects of this temperature pattern should be muted. Generator maintenance and low ending-season inventories should help to support natural-gas prices, however. Increased natural-gas production and slack demand in the South and West should help to offset these bullish pressures and help to stabilize energy prices in April.”

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 February 21.

About WSI Corporation
WSI is the world's leading provider of weather-driven business solutions in the aviation, energy and media markets, as well as multiple federal and state government agencies. WSI is the Professional Division of The Weather Company and is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts with offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Birmingham, England. The Weather Company is 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