March natural gas is expected to open 10 cents higher Thursday morning at $2.69 as weather forecasts reverse the recent trend of ever-milder outlooks. Overnight oil markets jumped.

Overnight weather models turned cooler. “[Thursday’s] six-10 day period forecast is colder or not as warm as yesterday’s forecast across the southern and eastern U.S.,” said forecaster WSI Corp. in a Thursday morning report to clients. “The West is warmer, especially late in the period. CONUS GWHDDs are up 1.4 to 90.6 for the period. These are [still] 32.7 below average.

“Any change with the timing and track of a storm system(s) can cause the forecast to waver. In general, the storm track offers some warmer risks across the eastern U.S. during Tuesday-Thursday. The south-central and eastern U.S. have some colder risks behind a cold front.”

Thursday’s storage report is expected to come in at about half the seasonal norm. Last year 131 Bcf was withdrawn, and the five-year pace stands at 158 Bcf. IAF Advisors calculates an 80 Bcf withdrawal and ICAP Energy sees an 81 Bcf decline.

Industry consultant Bentek Energy, utilizing its flow model, figures on an 84 Bcf pull, and a Reuters survey of 20 traders and analysts revealed an average 85 Bcf withdrawal with a range of -76 to -95 Bcf.

For the week ending Feb. 23, there are hints of a reported injection, in February!

Preliminary Reuters figures showed an estimated range of a 7 Bcf build to a 25 Bcf withdrawal. The Desk showed a similar range, a 5 Bcf injection to a 25 Bcf pull.

In overnight Globex trading April crude oil gained 93 cents to $54.52/bbl and April RBOB gasoline added 3 cents to $1.7601/gal.