Backing up for the most part what Punxsutawney Phil confirmed earlier this month, WSI Corp. is calling for cooler than normal temperatures during the early spring to be followed up later in the season with warmer than normal weather across most of the nation.

In its seasonal outlook encompassing March-May, WSI said it expects the overall period to average warmer-than-normal in most locations, with the exception of cooler-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and parts of the Plains. The group said the period will become warmer, relative to normal, as spring progresses.

In the monthly breakdown, WSI said it sees March bringing cooler-than-normal temperatures in most locations, with the exception of the Pacific Coast states, the Southwest, and parts of the northern Plains and Great Lakes states. The arrival of April will bring cooler-than-normal temperatures to the Plains, Great Lakes states, and Northeast, while warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected in the West and Southeast, WSI said. In May, cooler-than-normal temperatures are expected to be confined to the Northeast, with widespread warmer-than-normal temperatures elsewhere.

“It appears that much of the country will continue cold in March, especially in the East,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, WSI seasonal forecaster. “As spring progresses, warmer-than-normal temperatures will become much more common, especially in the western US.”

In conjunction with WSI’s forecast, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) weighed in with how it expects the energy market to respond. “Although inventories of natural gas are adequate to finish the heating season comfortably and within normal levels, a late season cold snap would prove bullish for regional delivered natural gas prices,” ESAI said. “Northeast power prices will moderate with lower seasonal loads if gas prices remain steady or move lower.”

During April and May, ESAI predicts that shoulder period demand for both gas and power will make temperature effects of much less importance. The consulting and analysis firm added that generator maintenance schedules will have a greater impact on power prices in most regions, noting that warm temperatures and a dry outlook for March and April will be bullish for power prices in California.

WSI, which provides weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation, and media markets, and multiple federal and state government agencies, said their three-month seasonal forecasts have been skillful for eight out of the last 12 periods. The company defines a skillful seasonal forecast as one that is closer to what is actually observed than a forecast using the 30-year average temperature.

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