Hurricane Dorian appeared increasingly likely to spare natural gas markets from any major demand-side impacts, and futures were trading slightly higher early Wednesday. The October Nymex contract was up 1.4 cents to $2.372/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.

Dorian at 8 a.m. ET was about 95 miles east-northeast of Daytona Beach, FL, with maximum sustained winds near 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

“Dorian is moving toward the north-northwest near 8 mph, and a northwest or north-northwest motion is expected through this morning,” the NHC said. “A turn toward the north is forecast by this evening, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast on Thursday morning. On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight.

“The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning.”

The latest developments have further reduced Dorian’s risk to natural gas markets, Genscape Inc. analysts said early Wednesday.

Dorian has weakened in intensity, and “updated storm track projections have the storm following a path that roughly parallels the U.S. Atlantic Coast, rather than making a direct onshore hit,” Genscape senior natural gas analyst Rick Margolin said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Fernand in the Gulf of Mexico, about 45 miles southeast of La Pesca, Mexico, and moving west as of 8 a.m. ET, appears unlikely to have a major impact on Mexican markets.

“Fortunately, its predicted path has it on a course to hit a sparsely populated area of Mexico’s Tamaulipas and Veracruz coasts,” Margolin said. The storm could impact liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel traffic, however, as its predicted path has it coming in “slightly north of the Altamira LNG terminal.”

Meanwhile, the latest 15-day weather outlook heading into Wednesday’s trading carried over similar themes from the previous day, according to Maxar’s Weather Desk. In the six- to 10-day period, the forecaster’s updated outlook showed “hotter than normal conditions continuing in the South and expanding northward at times. This includes readings in the upper 90s to near 100 degrees early on in Dallas, Houston and Memphis, while mid-90s are in St. Louis on Day 7 and in Atlanta for most days.

“Areas from the Midwest toward the East are variable, however, and the East is under a cooler adjustment late as high pressure dips southward from Canada.”

Further out in the 11-15 day period, Maxar continues to expect above-normal temperatures throughout most of the Lower 48.

“The hottest anomalies remain favored in the South in association with a steady ridging and dry conditions,” the forecaster said. “A level of pattern variability is retained along the Northern Tier, but this is a region which could turn warmer, as echoed within the Euro model.”

October crude oil futures were trading $1.19 higher at $55.13/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while October RBOB gasoline was up about 2.6 cents to $1.4962/gal.