Great Lakes cities are having difficulties extracting themselves from the ravages a record-setting winter. "Despite the transition into the spring season, the impacts of this year's harsh winter will linger in Cleveland," said AccuWeather.com's Kirsten Rodman. "This winter, the city received 76.3 inches of snow in total, which is approximately 15.5 inches more than normal, [and] despite temperatures ranging between the 40s and 50s, snow showers are possible on Saturday along with morning rain showers.
"To begin the first full week of spring, cold air will return to Cleveland on Monday as temperatures plummet back down below freezing. Despite some sunshine on Sunday and Monday, the air will feel cold, dropping into the high 20s. Temperatures will hover around freezing through Thursday, [and] the city's next chance for some snow showers will come on Tuesday."
Gas for weekend and Monday delivery at the Chicago Citygates traded more than $1 less than neighboring market points such as Joliet, and traders suggested that supply issues on incoming pipelines were the cause. "There must be issues with gas coming in from Trunkline, Panhandle or even points up north," said a Houston industry veteran. "Also, ANR storage in upper Michigan is probably bone-dry and there is just not enough gas. It's also cold again. I would imagine the gas is all going over to Michigan. A lot of the times the price at Joliet is driven by Michcon."
Incoming pipelines were indeed an issue. ANR posted on its website a notice of force majeure for gas deliveries on its southern leg. "Due to some minor delays, ANR is now scheduled to place the 1-501 line back in service on March 28, 2014; however, the 0-501 and 2-501 lines will remain out of service while work continues on those lines," the company said. "ANR will post an update to this force majeure notice stating that the 1-501 line is in service and the amount of northbound and southbound available capacities through the Delhi Compressor Station."
Gas for weekend and Monday delivery at the Chicago Citygates added 29 cents to $4.88, but deliveries at Joliet jumped $1.23 to $6.14. On Alliance, packages were seen $1.28 higher at $6.19, and on Northern Natural Ventura, gas changed hands at $5.90, up $1.31. Gas for the weekend and Monday on Michcon came in at $6.18, up $1.14, and deliveries to Consumers gained $1.27 to $6.30.
Eastern and New England points saw weekend and Monday prices jump more than $2 as forecasters called for a near-term return of cold. The National Weather Service in southeast Massachusetts said "high pressure will move across southern New England this [Friday] evening and then offshore overnight...bringing dry but chilly conditions. Low pressure will then track across northern New England Saturday bringing a few rain and snow showers to the region during the morning. Mild and windy conditions follow Saturday afternoon behind a frontal passage. An Arctic front moves across the area sun and brings unseasonably colder conditions Sun night into much of next week with temperatures more representative of January. A winter storm remains possible late Tuesday into Wednesday."
Gas at the Algonquin Citygates for the weekend and Monday jumped $2.62 to $7.79, and deliveries to Iroquois Waddington gained $1.43to $6.71. On Tennessee Zone 6 200 L gas was seen at $8.26, up a stout $2.82.
Farther south, gas on Transco Leidy rose 31 cents to $2.69, and deliveries to Dominion added three cents to $4.04. Gas on Tetco M-3 Delivery gained 21 cents to $4.44, and gas bound for New York City on Transco Zone 6 rose 34 cents to $4.68.
Weather forecasters saw the weekend as most likely the last hurrah for below-normal temperatures. In its Friday morning six- to 10-day outlook, Commodity Weather Group showed below-normal temperatures extending east of a broad arc from Montana to Missouri to South Texas. "The forecast situation is fairly straightforward from a big picture perspective with the final big March cold outbreak arriving this weekend for the Midwest before spreading south and east for next week," said Matt Rogers, president of the firm.
"Warming comes briskly behind it for the central to eastern third of the U.S. mid to late next week. But the one wrench in the works is a potential East Coast storm that could amplify stronger and slow down the moderation process a bit. If it trends stronger and more coastal, we could see colder impacts into Thursday-Friday next week, but if not, we could see much faster warming for this area leading to a mild to warm final weekend of March. The models are showing a highly variable 11-15 day story, but it seems like warmer risks outweigh cooler risks overall due to a significant reduction in the Alaska ridging story."