Traders found a mixed bag in launching the March aftermarket Thursday. Although swing prices began the month handily above indexes, they were generally flat to end-of-February numbers, but with sizeable variations to both the downside and upside.

The big declines came where prices had been spiking earlier in the week: Florida and Northeast citygates. Florida Gas Transmission still had an Overage Alert Day notice in effect through at least Thursday, but deliveries in Florida plunged by about a dollar and a quarter. And the Northeast points that had continued to soar on Wednesday were retreating by roughly similar amounts Thursday.

There was considerable volatility and a steep downslide in the Northeast market. IntercontinentalExchange recorded a range of just under a dollar at Transco Zone 6-NYC. And an individual buyer in the region, after starting with a Zone 6-NYC purchase in the low $3.30s, reported all the rest of his deals below $3 and winding up in the mid $2.70s. It will be warmer this weekend in the Northeast, he said, but likely to turn a mite cooler again around Monday.

Meanwhile, the West was seeing the most firmness, with several Rockies points climbing more than a dime. The California coast and desert Southwest are still enjoying mild weather, but a new arctic front was moving through Montana into the Rockies. California had to compete a little harder for Rockies supplies that were tending to stay at home more and also being wooed by Midcontinent/Midwest markets.

The Midcontinent/Midwest, also due to be visited by another mass of cold air from Canada, was leaning slightly to the positive side of flat with small gains at several points. After a mild warming stint in the region, another front was heading south through the Upper Plains. It was expected to keep moving into the Central Plains before spreading eastward into the Midwest. A considerable amount of snow was expected to accompany the front until precipitation begins turning into rain over the weekend, according to The Weather Channel.

Sources don’t expect the overall flatness to continue today, except possibly in the West and Midcontinent/Midwest. They cited a late retreat by the screen and moderating weather trends in the Gulf Coast, Southeast and Northeast, along with the declines in industrial load over a weekend.

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