WSI: Warmth to Focus in the West and South Next Few Months, with Near to Below-Normal Temperatures in Parts of North and East

Expecting Another Warm Summer Overall, But Cooler than the Last Three

ANDOVER, Mass. (April 23, 2013) — WSI (Weather Services International) expects the May-July period to be cooler than normal across parts of the northeastern United States, with above-normal temperatures common elsewhere, especially in the western United States. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford: “The summers of 2010-12 were the hottest three consecutive summers in the U.S. since at least 1895. The heat was due, in part, to a combination of (1) warmer-than-normal North Atlantic temperatures, (2) a lack of El Nino conditions and (3) expanding drought conditions. Heading into the upcoming summer, an examination of these factors reveals a lesser degree of consensus regarding heat relative to the past three years. In particular, while a significant El Nino event is not expected, recent and expected warming in the tropical Pacific may occasionally support a pattern that favors cooler-than-normal temperatures in parts of the eastern U.S. Further, we expect the most significant spring rains to impact areas from the Plains eastward, while the western U.S. will continue to dry out. This evolution is more suggestive of a west-based drought this summer which would favor very warm summer temperatures there, and potentially cooler-than-normal temperatures downstream in parts of the eastern U.S. Finally, there have been persistent trends in recent climate model forecasts towards a cooler summer across parts of the eastern U.S. Our final analysis suggests that this summer will not be as hot as the previous three, but will still be characterized by widespread areas of above-normal temperatures, especially across the southern and western U.S. The best chance for below-normal temperatures this summer will be across the Great Lakes region.”

In May, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast* – Cooler than normal
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 Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI):
“Although much of the U.S. will see warmer-than-normal temperatures, the load-heavy northeastern markets will see cooler-than-normal temperatures. As generator maintenance winds down in the Northeast, greater generator availability and lower loads will be bearish for May market heat-rates. Increasing electrical load due to growing cooling demand by the end of the May should help to firm implied market heat-rates in the West and Southwest.”

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

Flemming added: “Western U.S. temperatures are projected to be much warmer than normal and could lead to a strong start to summer in ERCOT and California. We expect that western natural gas demand will be stronger to support cooling demand from the power sector. In the North Central region, cooler temperatures are not likely to provide any meaningful offset to higher 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, particularly on warmer days. Overall, we continue to expect that June should be a stronger-than-average month for gas demand as the power sector ramps up to meet cooling demand.

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

Flemming: “The outlook for cooler temperatures in the Northeast in July breaks the trend toward warmer summer temperatures over the past few years. With a much lower likelihood of summer heat events, Northeast market heat rates will come in lower than expected. Likewise, natural gas demand will be correspondingly lower due to lower power sector demand for cooling. The Southwest markets are forecast to have much warmer-than-normal temperatures and are more likely to see heat events and volatile energy prices during July.

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 May 21.

*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