Warmer than normal temperatures will be seen across all but the northwestern quarter of the U.S. during September, October and November, according to WSI Corp., an Andover, MA-based provider of weather-driven business solutions.
“The transition to warm temperatures in the East in August should persist into September, as coastal ocean temperatures have warmed considerably, relative to normal, and as a pattern characteristic of La Nina becomes more firmly entrenched,” said WSI seasonal forecaster Todd Crawford. “This means that the focus of cooler temperatures should shift to the northwestern and north-central states during the next couple of months. There are rather striking similarities between current global atmospheric/oceanic patterns and those in late summer of 1996. That year was characterized by a very cool fall in many locations, especially the north-central states.”
In its most recent Energycast Outlook, WSI forecasts a continuation of warm temperatures in September in the eastern and southern portions of the country, with cooler than normal temperatures in the Northwest and north-central regions. An increase in the probability of late-season heat events and higher power prices would be marginally bullish for natural gas demand and prices. September natural gas demand from the power sector should be neutral to slightly bullish for gas prices, and high gas inventories should outweigh any bullish demand pulls from the power sector, WSI said.
WSI looks for slightly cooler than normal temperatures and slightly higher than normal heating demand across the northern tier of the country in October. Power demand will be moderate due to shoulder-season temperatures. In the Northeast, fall generator maintenance programs are low and there are no scheduled nuclear outages in New York or New England. Gas demand from the power sector in the Northeast will be moderate. October temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal in the South, especially in Arizona and New Mexico, WSI said.
The WSI November forecast indicates colder than normal temperatures across the north-central and western regions. With the key Upper-Midwest and Northeast heating demand regions expecting warmer than normal temperatures, the November heating season may get off to a slow start, WSI said. Lower demand in November could allow more time for inventories to approach maximum levels, providing a bearish start to winter gas prices. Planned generator maintenance in November will have more sway over power prices than will temperature fluctuations.
The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year norm (1971-2000). The next forecast package, for October-December, is scheduled to be issued Sept. 18.
In July WSI forecast that there would be 14 named storms, six hurricanes and three intense hurricanes (Category 3 or greater) during the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season (see Daily GPI, July 25).
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