The weather outlook for the upcoming September-through-November period is expected to be cooler than normal across most of the northern half of the nation, especially the northern Plains, while warmer-than-normal temperatures are likely to prevail in the southern states and along the Pacific Coast, according to Andover, MA-based WSI Corp.

“We are finally seeing some indications that the widespread warmer-than-normal temperatures, which we’ve experienced for most of 2006, may be coming to an end this fall,” said Todd Crawford, WSI seasonal forecaster. “Ocean temperatures in the Pacific suggest that cooler air from higher latitudes may be tapped a bit earlier than usual this fall, and we expect cooler-than-normal temperatures to prevail, at least in the northern U.S.”

In September, WSI anticipates cooler-than-normal temperatures for the Northeast and the North Central region of the country, and warmer-than-normal weather for the Southeast, South Central, Northwest and Southwest areas.

“Cooler [September] weather in the heavily populated Northeast will reduce demand for power and natural gas, although this will be offset somewhat by power sector gas demand in the southern tier of the country. Year-on-year natural gas inventories have been reduced by summer heat wave demands, but are likely to end the injection season very high if the hurricane season progresses without any damage to infrastructure in the Gulf,” WSI said. “Power prices in the Northeast load centers should be moderate in September, but California and the Southwest may see higher prices with extended warm weather.”

In October, the weather pattern is expected to be much the same as in September, except the Northeast will see warmer-than-normal temperatures, especially in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, WSI said. The North Central will be the only region in the United States that has cooler-than-normal. temperatures in October.

“Warmer temperatures will not have a significant effect on prices during October due to shoulder-period demand for both power and gas. Seasonal maintenance at power plants and nuclear plant refueling will have a much greater impact on power prices than temperature variations. Natural gas demand will be seasonally lower and above-normal temperatures in the Northeast may delay heating demand,” WSI said.

“If hurricane activity is merely normal (no extended production losses), natural gas inventories will reach storage capacity by mid-October, leaving two to four weeks in which the market may be oversupplied,” it noted.

For November, WSI forecasts cooler-than-normal temperatures for most of the country, with the exception of the South Central region (especially Texas) and the Southwest. “A cooler November in the northern regions may limit any extension of the natural gas injection into November, as early heating demand may develop. Early season demand for natural gas for heating may prove bullish for the winter months, even if storage levels are very high,” WSI said.

“Seasonal maintenance at power plants and nuclear plant refueling will continue into November and will have bullish impacts on power prices, although weather-related demand will have less influence.”

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