A juggernaut of arctic air starting to exit the Northeast will leave temperatures close to normal Tuesday in the region, which was hit hardest pricewise by the latest winter storm. Temperatures were expected to stay largely static or grow slightly warmer in other market areas.

Except for giant plunges in the formerly high-flying Northeast, most points saw relatively modest declines of 8 cents or less, except for out West, where West Coast and Rockies’ points recorded upticks of a couple of pennies. All of the multi-dollar dives were Northeast-related.

The Northeast citygates were trading at a significant discount to Friday, when two points — Transco Zone 6-New York and Iroquois Zone 2 — had recorded $21 top quotes.

Although the intermediate-term weather outlook seems to have eased a bit, a couple of noted forecasters said Monday they look for cold weather to stick around in February, with expecting below-normal temperatures to last as long as April in the North and West (see related stories).

The Henry Hub’s $4.72 Monday, which reflected virtually no change from Friday, left it commanding a stout premium over the February futures daily closeout of $4.580 (see related story).

It’s still colder than normal, but gas supplies are well under control, said a Southern utility buyer. But just to play it safe, his company plans to pick up a little more baseload gas for February. The heavy amount of heating load lately is keeping his staff very busy, “but we like it that way,” he said.

Most of the trend in pipeline restrictions was to relax those activated to combat excess imbalances (see Transportation Notes), but Florida Gas Transmission’s initiation of an Overage Alert Day appeared to have little impact on a lightly traded Florida citygate.

Four units were added to the number of drilling rigs seeking natural gas in the U.S. during the week ending Jan. 21, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count. It counted increases of one rig in the Gulf of Mexico and three onshore. The latest tally was down 3% from a month ago but 9% higher than the year-ago level.

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