Mother Nature delivered a gut punch to the natural gas market, pulling back on projections for a polar vortex to descend into the Lower 48 by the end of the month. The frigid forecast was seen as the missing link in an otherwise solidly supported market.

Northwest Sumas prompt

Natural gas forward prices responded with sharp decreases in the remaining two months of winter in spite of strong liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand. Smaller losses were seen further out the curve, NGI’s Forward Look showed.

EBW Analytics Group said the “rare loss” of a startling 35 gas-heating degree days and 70 Bcf within the near-term time frame triggered the collapse of the February Nymex futures contract, which plunged 19 cents Tuesday, following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The prompt month held fairly steady...