Natural gas futures rallied early Monday, boosted by a combination of May heat and supply cuts. The June Nymex contract was trading 5.3 cents higher at $2.684/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.

Weather data over the weekend added to demand expectations for the next couple of weeks, with European data adding more demand compared to the American data, according to Bespoke Weather Services.

“The strong heat that develops at the end of this week lasts a little longer into next week compared to what we saw in Friday’s modeling, with the risk for 100 degree highs in parts of the Southeast extending into the middle portion of next week,” Bespoke said.

“…We still suspect that the heat backs down into early June, though the data is showing that the El Nino state is weaker. We will be monitoring this closely to see if this weakening is just a blip or a consistent trend that would open the door to a hotter overall summer pattern.”

Radiant Solutions is calling for record heat in the Southeast in the six- to 10-day forecast window.

“A highly amplified pattern regime continues for this time frame, with cool troughing over the West and strong ridging centered over the South,” Radiant said. “Record heat is forecast under the South ridge, with temperatures peaking in the mid to upper 90s in Atlanta. Dry conditions will also accompany, and the forecast resides on the warmer side of model consensus from the Texas toward the Southeast.

“Heat will build northward into the southern Midwest and Mid-Atlantic at times, but an active storm track through the Midwest will pull cooler air into the Rockies, Plains and western Midwest during the second half.”

As for the 11-15 day period, Radiant noted “similar themes” carried over from Friday’s forecasts, but the outlook leans toward additional warming for the South.

“This comes as models continue to hold ridging over the area,” the forecaster said. “Above normal temperatures persist through the period in the Southeast, while unsettledness along the ridge’s northern periphery has temperatures being closer to normal in the Northeast.”

On the supply side, Bespoke highlighted a “very large production drop” that showed up in the data Sunday.

“It is likely a short-term issue,” as production Monday was “starting off a little higher, and likely will be revised higher, but is still going to be well off the highs,” the firm said.

Genscape Inc. notified clients of a force majeure declared Sunday morning at the MarkWest Mobley Plant in West Virginia that required Equitrans to reduce operational capacity at two locations by more than 400 MMcf/d and as much as 145 MMcf/d, respectively until further notice.

“Columbia Gas Transmission (TCO) is also facing cuts to supply due what is identified as an ”operational event’ at the MarkWest Salem Plant, also until further notice,” Genscape analyst Anthony Ferrara said.

June crude oil futures were off 7 cents to $62.69/bbl just after 8:30 a.m. ET, while June RBOB gasoline was trading about 1.2 cents lower at $2.0349/gal.