WSI: Temperatures to Rebound from March Madness Across Eastern/Central U.S. during April/May

Will El Nino Cool Off the U.S. this Summer?

ANDOVER, Mass. (March 26, 2013) — WSI (Weather Services International) expects the April-June period to be colder than normal across parts of western Canada and the northern Plains, but with above-normal temperatures common elsewhere, especially in the intermountain West. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford: “After a persistently cold March across
many parts of the central and eastern United States driven by unusually strong high-latitude atmospheric blocking, we expect the pattern to recover a bit by the second week in April. This should allow for the return of warmer-than-normal temperatures across parts of the north-central and northeastern U.S., with the possible exception of the southern tier. Recent model forecast trends along with the expected evolution of sub-seasonal drivers, such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), support this idea. As we head into May, we expect above-normal temperatures to continue to be widespread, with the exception of the Pacific Coast states and the Pacific Northwest. By June, climate models are hinting at the potential for below-normal temperatures across parts of the north-central and Great Lakes states. Finally, while it is a bit early for a proper summer forecast, we are monitoring the potential emergence of an El Nino event later this spring. Such an event would reduce the risk of another blazing hot summer, especially across the north-central and northeastern U.S.”

In April, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast* – Warmer than normal
Southeast* – Slightly warmer than normal
North Central * – Slightly cooler than normal
South Central* – Slightly warmer than normal
Northwest* – Cooler than normal
Southwest* – Warmer than normal

According to Paul Flemming, director of power and gas at Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI):
“With warmer-than-normal temperatures expected across much of the country in April, natural-gas demand is likely to finish the heating season on a softer note. The injection season will begin with robust inventories and natural gas prices are likely to remain stable to soft in April. Power markets will be driven more by maintenance outages than by weather, as shoulder season loads are low and less responsive to temperatures. In most markets, generation maintenance will be increasing throughout the month and will be moderately bullish for heat rates.”

In May, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Warmer than normal
Southeast – Slightly warmer than normal
North Central – Warmer than normal
South Central – Slightly warmer than normal
Northwest – Colder than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal, with exception of coastal southern California

Flemming added: “Temperatures across most of the country will be warmer than normal with New
England and New York likely to see greater variances to warmer temperatures. Generator maintenance in these regions should begin wrapping up by mid-month, however. Increasing electrical load due to growing cooling demand by the end of the May should help to firm implied market heat rates in the South and Southwest, particularly in ERCOT. In PJM and the Northeast, on the other hand, warmer-than-normal temperatures have less influence on electrical demand in May, however, with the warmer outlook there is a greater chance for higher temperatures and loads later in the month. Generator maintenance in PJM and the Northeast could help to magnify any marginal strength in electrical demand, but maintenance will be winding down during the course of the month as the chance for higher temperatures increases. Natural gas should see demand at above-normal levels due to higher temperatures and the need for early season cooling.”

In June, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Slightly warmer than normal
Southeast – Slightly warmer than normal
North Central – Cooler than normal
South Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

Flemming: “Temperatures west of the Mississippi will be much warmer than normal and could
lead to a strong start to summer in the western power markets and ERCOT. Natural gas demand will be stronger in the west to support cooling demand from the power sector and cooler temperatures in the North Central region will not provide any meaningful offset to gas demand in the West. In PJM, the cooler-Midwest/warmer-East temperature gradient splits the pool and should tend to increase west to east flows and congestion. Overall, June should be a stronger-than-average month for gas demand as the power sector ramps up to meet cooling demand.”

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 April 23.

*To view the map defining WSI’s US regions, click here.

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