While winter may be officially coming to an end, WSI Corp. said the April-through-June period should average cooler than normal in the major cities of the northeastern United States, along with the entire southwestern quarter of the country.
In its most recent outlook, the Andover, MA-based forecasting and weather-driven business solutions provider said the three-month period would also see warmer than normal temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Plains, along with the Ohio Valley and Southeast. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1971-2000).
"Our latest forecast models indicate that the cool spring will continue in the Northeast, while the Southeast will warm up by May," said Dr. Todd Crawford, a seasonal forecaster with WSI. "There is also a rather strong signal in our forecast models for warmth in the northern Plains and Great Lakes states by June."
In its monthly breakdown, WSI said the entire East along with the South Central region should see cooler than normal temperatures during April, while the entire West and the North Central region of the U.S. should be warmer than normal.
Working with WSI, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) said lower demand in this shoulder month for both natural gas and power makes these markets less sensitive to changes in temperatures. "Natural gas inventories should finish the withdrawal season at above-average levels," the company said. "ESAI expects bearish fundamentals to dominate in April; however, recent pricing trends have bucked the fundamentals. Power prices will not be very responsive to April's temperature variations, but will be supported by outages due to scheduled generator maintenance programs."
WSI said May should see cooler than normal temperatures in the Northeast, North Central, South Central and Southwest portions of the country, while the Southeast and Northwest should experience warmer than normal readings.
Based on WSI's forecast for the month, ESAI said, "Warmer than normal temperatures are expected in the Northwest states, which poses concerns for snowpack and the availability of water for the summer hydro season. Cooler than normal temperature expectations in May will reduce the likelihood of early season hot weather and sets the stage for moderate power prices in most markets and low gas demand."
The month of June is expected to see even more temperature changes. While WSI expects it to be warmer than normal in the Southeast, North Central and Northwest, it still believes the Northeast, South Central and Southwest will remain cooler than normal for the time of year.
ESAI said lower demand for natural gas in the power sector in these regions will be offset by warmer than normal temperatures in the Southeast and Northwest. In addition, cooler temperatures in the Northeast in June will provide a lower demand buffer against any delays in the return of generators from their maintenance programs, the company said.
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