WSI Expects Warm Spring and Early Summer across Northern and Interior Western US, Relatively Cool South-Central and Pacific Coast

Early Look at Summer Suggests Northern US at Greatest Risk for Anomalous Heat


Andover, MA, March 20, 2012 — WSI (Weather Services International) expects the upcoming period (April-June) to be cooler than normal across parts of the south-central and southeastern US and in the major cities along the Pacific Coast. Generally above-normal temperatures are expected in other regions. The WSI seasonal outlooks now reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

“After one of the warmest US winters on record, characterized by a complete lack of impactful atmospheric blocking events, we are now in the midst of what will likely be one of the warmest months of March on record. We expect the current warm pattern across much of the eastern two-thirds of the US to retrogress westward as we head towards the end of March into early April, with a greater risk for cooler temperatures developing in parts of the eastern US, especially the Southeast,” said WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford. “At this time, we feel that the late spring and early summer period will be generally characterized by a lack of significant atmospheric blocking, unlike the pattern we saw in 2008-2011. This pattern reversal, relative to the past few years, will favor more warmth across the northern US as we head into summer, with near to slightly below-normal temperatures across those areas in the south-central and southeastern US that have been very hot in recent summers. Finally, the current pattern of ocean temperatures in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic basins, including an expected return to El Nino conditions, favors a cooler (than what occurred in 2010-11) summer on a nationally-averaged basis.”

In April, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast* – Warmer than normal
Southeast * – Cooler than normal
N Central* – Warmer than normal
S Central* – Warmer than normal
Northwest* – Cooler than normal
Southwest* – Warmer than normal, except coastal southern California

According to Paul Flemming, Director of Power and Gas at ESAI, “As we enter the April shoulder period, weather-related demand becomes less important. But, with warmer weather across the northern tier of the country, there is less chance for late-season cold to increase demand for gas and power. Mild temperatures and robust inventories (to begin the summer injection season) should keep natural gas prices soft through April. Generation maintenance will be in full swing during April and will be a greater driver in supporting power prices then weather. Gas demand will also be driven by maintenance due to outages for nuclear refueling and at coal plants. Power prices are likely to remain relatively soft in most regions due to the low-priced gas environment.”

In May, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Cooler than normal
Southeast – Cooler than normal
N Central – Warmer than normal
S Central – Cooler than normal
Northwest – Cooler than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal, except coastal southern California

“Slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures are expected in the eastern and southern regions which suggests that electric loads and gas demand will be moderate in the key Northeast markets and ERCOT,” Flemming noted. “Planned generator maintenance will still be a factor during May, but the absence of early-season heat should keep prices moderate, particularly given the continued expectation for low gas prices. Much warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Southwest will be bullish for electric loads with an early start to summer.”

In June, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Warmer than normal
Southeast – Cooler than normal
N Central – Warmer than normal
S Central – Warmer than normal, except eastern Texas
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal

“Temperatures in June for most regions will be only slightly above normal, while temperatures in the southeastern states and eastern Texas will be cooler than normal. Generator maintenance in most regions will be complete by June 1 and the outlook for mostly normal temperatures will mean that electric loads will be moderate, especially in the southeast and Texas. Natural gas demand should be near normal and much warmer-than-normal temperatures in the North Central region should not have any bullish impact on gas prices,” Flemming added. “Given the cooler outlook, the potential for early-season cooling demand in the Southeast and Texas is somewhat diminished.”

WSI, which provides customized weather information to energy traders, will issue its next seasonal outlook, including the first official summer forecast, on April 24.

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

About WSI
WSI (Weather Services International) is the world's leading provider of weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation and media markets and multiple federal and state government agencies. WSI is a member of The Weather Channel Companies and is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts with offices in Birmingham, England. The Weather Channel Companies 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.

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

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

Editorial Contact:
Barbara Rudolph
Rudolph Communications, LLC
(781) 229-1811
bjr@rudolphcommunications.com