September 26, 2016

Winter Outlook Calls for Warmer-Than-Normal Temperatures to Continue Through Fall

Colder Winter Expected Early for Eastern US, Otherwise Warm Winter Expected

In its latest seasonal forecast for the October-December period, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is predicting warmer-than-normal temperatures across all of the US on average, especially across the western US.  The first official winter (December-February) outlook calls for above-normal temperatures in all locations except parts of the Northeast, where an early colder Winter is likely. (The Weather Company seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010)). 

“September has been another unusually warm month across the eastern and central US, and the string of warm weather seems to be never-ending,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, Chief Meteorologist, The Weather Company. “The transition from El Nino to La Nina has occurred, at least with regards to atmospheric response, and the expected enhancement of Indonesian convection will likely help to drive above-normal temperatures through October in at least the eastern half of the country.”

“By November, as the response to the La Nina forcing undergoes the typical late-autumn transition, we might expect an early start to winter in parts of the eastern US,” said Crawford. “As the winter evolves, we expect the colder risk to end abruptly in the East after the New Year. On average, we expect the winter to be characterized by widespread above-normal temperatures, in part due to what we are calling a ‘hangover’ from the historically-strong El Nino event last winter, as there is still an excess of global heat sloshing through the system. Because of this, we expect generally above-normal temperatures this winter through the western two-thirds of the US, with occasional cold in the eastern US generally focused during the first half of winter.”

October Forecast By Region

  • Northeast* – Warmer than normal
  • Southeast* – Warmer than normal
  • North Central * – Warmer than normal
  • South Central* – Warmer than normal
  • Northwest* – Cooler than normal
  • Southwest* – Warmer than normal

“October is keeping to the theme of warmer than normal weather, but this time around it will have a negative impact to the overall demand on the grid as the HDDs for the month will come in much lower thus less power burns and res/com numbers.” said Jeff Richter, Principal at EnergyGPS. “Production will start to gear up for winter with maintenance coming to and end as well as a couple of upgraded pipeline capacity projects nearing completion.”

November Forecast By Region

  • Northeast – Warmer than normal
  • Southeast – Colder than normal
  • North Central – Warmer than normal
  • South Central –Warmer than normal
  • Northwest – Warmer than normal
  • Southwest – Warmer than normal

Richter states, “Sticking with the theme from October, the warmer than normal temperatures will keep the grid rather loose compared to the outlook last month. We will be keeping a close eye on how the supply picture is shaping up as well as the impact on the overall demand components. By this time, the gas storage operators will be keeping a close eye on how the month of December is shaping up, especially in the Northeast. ”

December Forecast By Region

  • Northeast – Colder than normal
  • Southeast – Colder than normal
  • North Central – Warmer than normal
  • South Central – Warmer than normal
  • Northwest – Warmer than normal
  • Southwest – Warmer than normal

“This is the month that broke the camel’s back last winter as temperatures were quite mild.  Looking at the breakout above, the Northeast and Southeast are showing colder than normal while the rest of the country is showing warmer weather.  As we get closer to the month, the biggest question to answer is what the standard deviation looks like when it comes to how cold the northeast will be.”

The Weather Company provides customized weather information to global commodity traders via its industry-leading WSI Trader Web site