Mild to cool conditions remain dominant north of the southern third of the United States, yet the cash market got even stronger than before with double-digit increases nearly across the board Tuesday.

Despite the lack of any immediate threat, a bit of "storm hype" may have been involved as two hurricanes and one tropical storm were in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea by Tuesday afternoon. Also, the previous day's increase of 5.5 cents by October futures -- the second Nymex gain in a row -- contributed to the overall bullishness.

Only a couple of points failed to advance by more than a dime as gains ranged from nearly a dime to a little shy of 45 cents. Most of the largest increases were recorded in the Rockies.

Although it rose another 8 cents or so, the Florida citygate is currently the only location trading under its first-of-month index (down about a nickel). Thanks to Tuesday's gains, three Rockies points are about a dollar above index.

Nymex support for the cash market got thinner but will still be slightly positive for Wednesday as prompt-month futures rose another 2.8 cents Tuesday (see related story).

Tropical Storm Karl formed Tuesday over the northwest Caribbean Sea but was not expected to threaten U.S. offshore production. Its expected tracking was across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and into Central America.

Tropical Storm Julia advanced to hurricane status overnight but was still in the far eastern Atlantic. Hurricane Igor was growing stronger as it continued to move westward through the middle Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said. Both hurricanes were expected to veer northward off the East Coast.

Outside the low 100s in parts of the desert Southwest, only the South in the low 90s at most can be considered warm for mid-September. Canada and the northern half of the U.S., along with the West Coast, are not predicted to surpass 70 for the most part Wednesday.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) noted Transco Zone 6-New York volumes traded on its online platform shooting higher from 123,600 MMBtu Monday to 199,200 MMBtu Tuesday; the average price was up about 20 cents, ICE said.

ICE also noted El Paso's San Juan-Blanco pool, up about a quarter, registering a trading increase from 491,700 MMBtu Monday to 535,500 MMBtu Tuesday.

A Southwest utility buyer said his area was assuredly the hottest in the country, but conditions weren't quite as severe now as during some parts of the summer. It would be nice to have a stronger economy to stoke energy demand, he said, but otherwise utility operations were going fairly well.

Bentek Energy found huge percentage drops in nominated volumes for Tuesday at a couple of western points in its U.S. Natural Gas Hub Flows chart. Waha fell 178,000 MMBtu (43%) to 233,000 MMBtu, Bentek said, while Opal was down 573,000 MMBtu (40%) to 867,000 MMBtu. NGPL-TexOk was in third place among declines with a drop of 195,000 MMBtu (23%) to 642,000 MMBtu.

Increases were relatively benign at mostly less than 10%, Bentek said, led by a 21% rise at Niagara on relatively minuscule volumes of 4,000 MMBtu to 23,000 MMBtu.

The number of drilling rigs targeting gas in the U.S. rose by three to 980 during the ween ending Sept. 10, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count. All of the increase occurred onshore, as the Gulf of Mexico count stayed flat at 12, Baker Hughes said. Its latest gas rig tally was down 1% from a month ago but 44% higher than the year-earlier level.

©Copyright 2010 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.