Natural gas futures pared their recent gains in early trading Tuesday as updated forecasts showed less cold reaching the eastern Lower 48 in early December.

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Coming off a 47.3 cent rally in the previous session, the December Nymex contract was off 15.8 cents to $6.618/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.

The factors driving Monday’s price surge “weren’t clear-cut,” according to NatGasWeather.

The firm highlighted “the risk of a railroad strike and the potential for a colder U.S. pattern Dec. 1-7” as two possible explanations for the rally.

Looking at updated forecasts, after trending “a little warmer” Monday for the early December time frame, the weather data extended warmer trends overnight, NatGasWeather said.

“Frigid air is expected into the West and northern Plains Nov. 29-Dec. 7…However, the overnight weather data failed to advance cold air eastward as aggressively Dec. 1-7, keeping the southern and eastern U.S. mild to nice most days, with highs of 40s to 70s,” the firm said. “There will still be brief bouts of stronger demand across the Midwest and Northeast to start December for closer to seasonal demand, but simply not as cold as the data showed Sunday into Monday.”

Meanwhile, ICAP Technical Analysis told clients it will be focusing on resistance for the December and January contracts following a “nice rally” in Monday’s session.

Despite the gains to start the week, “bulls are not out of the woods just yet,” ICAP analyst Brian LaRose said.

“For the soon-to-be expiring December contract, bulls still need to better $6.865-6.899, $6.998-7.005 and $7.221 to have a shot at $7.591-7.732 or $8.012-8.186-8.295,” the analyst added. “For the January contract, bulls need to better $7.299-7.312 and $7.378-7.389 and $7.501 to have a shot at $7.913-7.987, $8.012-8.186 or $8.448.”

In terms of fundamentals, LNG feed gas demand has been hovering above the 12.0 Bcf/d mark, according to estimates from EBW Analytics Group.

This comes as “dry gas production continues to lack any sizably seasonal uptick,” EBW analyst Eli Rubin said. “If production does not move higher, tightening supply expectations could provide a boost for Nymex futures.”

This week’s Thanksgiving holiday and the subsequent expiration of the December contract raise the prospect of heightened volatility into early next week, Rubin said.

“While large price swings in either direction are possible, we highlight potential for a breakout to the upside over the next seven to 10 days,” Rubin said.