WSI: Recent US Pattern of Below-Normal Temperatures North and Above-Normal South Will Persist into Early Summer, then Reverse During Back Half of Summer

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La Nina Continues to Slowly Fade, but No El Nino Expected

WSI US Weather Outlook May-July 2011

WSI US Weather Outlook May-July 2011

As we head deeper into spring, the waning La Nina event is still the primary driver of the northern hemispheric pattern, even though the magnitude of the event is diminishing.

WSI (Weather Services International) expects the upcoming period (May-July) to average cooler than normal across the northern US, with above-normal temperatures expected across most of the southern US. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1971-2000).

“As we head deeper into spring, the waning La Nina event is still the primary driver of the northern hemispheric pattern, even though the magnitude of the event is diminishing. This has resulted in the cool-north, warm-south pattern that has been responsible for so much extreme weather during the past month, with unusual late-season snowstorms across the northern US, very hot and dry weather across much of the deep South and record-breaking levels of severe weather in-between. There is no immediate sign that this pattern will be breaking anytime soon,” said WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford.

“Further, the impacts of a very strong and unusually late warming in the polar stratosphere will begin to manifest themselves by May, specifically by reinforcing the cold air across parts the northern US. These impacts may linger well into June before a pattern transition may finally begin to occur. During the last half of summer, we think that the pattern will reverse by August with the potential for some significant heat across the northern US, specifically in the Northeast, where flooding has not been as big of a problem as it has been in the north-central states.”

In May, WSI predicts regional temperature anomalies as follows:
Northeast* – Cooler than normal
Southeast*– Warmer than normal
N Central*     – Cooler than normal
S Central*     – Warmer than normal
Northwest*    – Cooler than normal
Southwest*– Cooler than normal

Paul Flemming, Director of Power and Gas at ESAI, said, “May temperatures are expected to be cooler-than-normal across the northern and western portions of the country, but warmer in the Southeast and Gulf Coast. Demand for gas from the power sector will be higher in the warmer regions due to early-season cooling, but should be offset by lower demand for gas in other regions. Increased demand for gas due to coal and nuclear generator maintenance will continue to be a factor in May as gas-fired generators fill the gap, but most maintenance will be complete by the end of May. Power prices in the Northeast and western markets will be moderate given the cooler temperature outlook.”

In June, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast     – Warmer than normal
Southeast     – Warmer than normal
N Central     – Cooler than normal
S Central     – Warmer than normal
Northwest     – Cooler than normal
Southwest    – Warmer than normal

“Warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions during June should be bullish for power prices in New York, New England and PJM,” Flemming noted. “The cooler-than-normal temperatures in California and the Northwest will likely keep power prices subdued in those markets. With warmer weather expected across the southern tier of the country in addition to the Northeast, overall gas demand should be above average.”

In July, WSI forecasts:
Northeast     – Cooler than normal
Southeast     – Cooler than normal
N Central     – Warmer than normal
S Central     – Cooler than normal
Northwest     – Cooler than normal coastal areas; warmer-than-normal inland
Southwest    – Warmer than normal

“Cooler-than-normal temperatures in the key Eastern U.S., Texas and California markets will result in lower-than-normal natural gas demand. The much cooler-than-normal temperatures in the eastern regions will also result in lower power prices in PJM, New York and New England during July. In addition, the cooler temperature outlook also translates into lower probabilities of heat events during July, and therefore, lower price volatility,” added Flemming.

WSI, which provides customized weather information to energy traders, will issue its next seasonal outlook on May 24, including any final adjustments to the summer forecast.

*To view the map defining WSI’s US regions, click here.

About WSI
WSI (Weather Services International) is the world's leading provider of weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation, and media markets, and multiple federal and state government agencies. WSI is a member of The Weather Channel Companies and is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts with offices in Birmingham, England. The Weather Channel Companies are owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. More information about WSI can be found at http://www.wsi.com.

About ESAI
Since its inception in 1984, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) has been dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and synthesizing information about world-wide energy markets. Tapping the talents of its senior-level staff, ESAI provides clients with unparalleled insight into where the markets have been and where they are headed. ESAI provides ongoing systematic analysis of energy prices in the oil, natural gas, and energy markets. For more information on ESAI services, see http://www.esai.com.

Contacts:
Linda Maynard    
WSI
(978) 983-6715    
lmaynard(at)wsi(dot)com

Tommy Sutro
Energy Security Analysis, Inc.
(781) 245-2036
tsutro(at)esai(dot)com

Editorial Contact:
Barbara Rudolph    
Rudolph Communications, LLC
(781) 229-1811
bjr(at)rudolphcommunications(dot)com

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Barbara Rudolph
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