Reinforcing Cold Blasts To Keep Nat Gas Demand High To End February
We have been forecasting for some time that the nat gas and heating markets best be aware cold and snow would be returning to the highest use states of the northern US during the last week of February. It couldn’t have played out more perfectly. We were never very impressed with the coming warm up and thought it was being overplayed by national forecasts. It now looks to be a pathetic two day warm up for portions of the Midwest and Northeast before a strong storm ushers in the next blast of unseasonably cold Canadian air. Until then, a fresh winter system will continue to bring moderate snowfall to the Midwest today and over the Northeast tonight and Tuesday with accumulations of 2-5″. Some light snow showers are possible over the Northeast Wednesday before high pressure rapidly builds in Thursday. This will lead to a rapid warm up as strong southerly winds push temperatures into the 40s and 50s over all of the eastern US. That’s it for the big warm up; Wednesday into Thursday. Cold air will immediately be wrapping around a potent weather system tracking through the north-central US Thursday and Friday . As the storm tracks across the US, strong thunderstorms are expected along the cold front with some light snow showers behind it. More importantly, temperatures will again drop into the single digits and below zero for much of the northern US Friday and Saturday, leading to a return of strong nat gas and heating demand.
Another more impressive reinforcing blast of cold air is likely to follow Sunday into Monday of next week. This would allow cold air to anchor over much of the central and eastern US for several days, leading to strong nat gas and heating demand through the end of February. There will likely be additional weather systems tracking through the flow every few days with areas of light to moderate snowfall, but exact timing and placement is not much fun this far out. If the nat gas markets still have concerns about cold weather, the coming pattern should force some hands as big market players are yet again slow to catch on cold and snowy weather will continue. We think additional surprises are in store for the nat gas and heating markets in March, but will hold off a few more days.
Here’s an image of the big warm up. High pressure will briefly push into the Great Lakes and eastern US Thursday, allowing temperatures to warm into the 40s and 50s. That’s it. Very cold conditions are being tapped on the back side of the storm which will push through much of the northern US Friday and Saturday, bringing a return to below normal conditions. The image shows temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground in Celsius. Dark blues and purples represent very cold air with temperatures dropping into the single digits and below zero (F) at the surface.
Several weather systems will bring inclement weather to the central and eastern US this week. The current storm over the Midwest will track into the Northeast overnight with several inches of fresh snowfall. There will be another weak feature that will lead to some light snow showers Wednesday. However, temperatures will warm quite a bit Thursday over the eastern US as the next winter storm powers through. The Thursday storm will likely have a line of thunderstorms along the leading edge of the cold front. Once the cold front blasts through it will be right back to below normal temperatures for the highest use nat gas states of the Midwest and Northeast. The image shows 12 hour precipitation at times when both storms are tracking through in inches. Heavier precipitation is expected with the second storm.
Temperatures Saturday morning after the big warm up has come to an end will again be very cold. Lows of well below zero are expected over the Midwest with single digits and teens for the Northeast. This will be the start of another prolonged period of strong nat gas and heating demand. It will also be quite chilly deep into the southern US.
By next Monday a strong reinforcing blast of extremely cold Canadian air will likely be pushing deep into the southern US with the highest use states of the northern US experiencing very cold conditions. Once this cold becomes established it will take days to moderate without any additional reinforcing cold blasts, which there should be.
The image shows the temperature anomalies for next Monday. All of the central and eastern US will experience temperatures colder than normal with many areas across the highest nat gas use states of the northern US seeing temperatures 10-20F colder average.