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February 17, 2017

Seasonal Outlook: The Weather Company Experts Warmth for Eastern U.S to Continue into Early Summer; Cooler Conditions Confined to Parts of the West

ANDOVER, Mass. (February 21, 2017) — In its latest seasonal forecast for the March-May period, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is predicting warmer-than-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., with below-normal temperatures confined to the northwestern quarter of the country and California. The largest positive temperature anomalies are expected across the southern plains and lower Mississippi Valley.  (The Weather Company seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal [1981-2010].)

“Each month this winter has gotten successively warmer, relative to normal, with any sustained below-normal temperatures generally limited to the northwestern quarter of the country” said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company. “While the La Nina event is waning, we expect the recent atmospheric response and pattern to generally persist well into spring and maybe even early summer. As we evolve towards a potential El Nino event later in the year, we would expect cooler risks to temperatures to finally emerge across the eastern U.S. by the second half of the summer.”

March

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

 

“The first two months of the year have been quite warm, and it shows in the overall residential and commercial (rescom) demand across the country” said Jeff Richter, principal at EnergyGPS. “It looks like March will continue this trend in most parts of the country. This will put pressure on the front end of the curve, as we are still in the winter withdrawal period.”

April

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

 

According to Richter, “The warmer-than-normal theme is going to continue into April in the Southeast, Northeast, and Central U.S. We will be in the thick of outage season for coal and nuclear units, so power burns will be something to watch. That is good news because rescom demand will be minimal versus a normal April. We will watch the Sabine LNG nominations closely, as Train 3 should be going live with the next train in the works the second half of the year. All eyes will be on production, as movement either way will pave the way for how the end-of-summer supply/balance plays out.”

May

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

 

“At some point, May flowers have to start blooming, and with all the water that has been hitting both California and the Pacific Northwest we should start to see some runoff by May,” said Richter. “However, the forecast calls for continued below-normal temperatures, so this might mean the snowmelt might not be seen until June. The rest of the country continues with the theme of warmth, so the back half of the month will start to matter when it comes to power burns across the country. We will still be focused on the renewable energy penetration across the country, especially in ERCOT and SPP where the actual output capacity has grown over 6 GW in the past 12 months. It should be noted that ERCOT has over 600 MW of solar capacity hitting the grid as of February 2017 with a max capacity of around 850 MW come this summer.”

The Weather Company provides customized weather information to global commodity traders via its industry-leading WSI Trader Web site. The Weather Company will issue its next seasonal outlook, including its first official summer forecast, on March 20.