Monday’s March Pattern Update

Written by on February 24, 2014 in NatGasWeather - No comments

Storms & Cold To Hang On Over Northern US Second Week Of March

 
 

The latest morning data continues streaming in as the nat gas markets crash. At first glance there is nothing that has surprised us. Let’s start with the things we know.  Cold weather will hold over all of the northern US through Sunday, leading to abnormally strong nat gas and heating demand  Temperatures will be below zero over the Midwest and into the single digits for the Northeast as several Arctic blasts push out of Canada.  We are also confident a strong weather system will be tracking out of the southern Plains late this weekend and bring a few days of warming to the Mid-Atlantic and portions of the Northeast early next week (March 3rd-4th).  This has the potential to a be a very impressive storm with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms across the south-central US.  With enough cold air still remaining over the northern US, a wintry mess of precipitation would also likely set up with heavy snowfall tracking toward the Ohio Valley and Northeast as a potentially strong Nor’easter spins up.    Cold Canadian air would again be tapped and drawn into the northern US in the wake of the departing major storm around March 5th.  Things would then quiet down for several days as the cold air just gradually modifies and warms across the nation March 6-9th.  It is during this time where the forecast data is really struggling and where a whole lot of differing scenarios could play out.  This will lead to confusion from big players hearing varying forecasts over the coming week.  We believe there will be another storm or two during the second week of March that will tap into fresh doses of cold air over Canada and bring it into the northern US for another round of above normal nat gas and heating demand and below normal temperatures.  What we are uncertain about is just how cold the air will be over Canada and also how far into the central US and Mid-Atlantic it will advance.   We know coming national forecasts will struggle on the pattern to close out the first week of March, but there is still nothing that suggests a prolonged and significant warm up will be coming to the highest use states of the northern US anytime soon.  This has to support prices, especially if just one or two more storms is able to bring in abnormally cold temperatures going into mid-March, which we think is more likely than not.

 

If you are following a timeline of how the weather over the next two weeks will play out:

 

 Week of Cold ——–>  Strong Winter Storm  ——–> Several Chilly Days of  Blah  ———> Potential Storm Followed By Another Round of Cold

 

We are still expecting a strong weather system to track out of the southern Plains to end the cold pattern around March 2nd.  This should be strong storm and could develop into a potent Nor'easter for the eastern US.  This would bring a 1-2 day warm up before cold air on the backside of the storm would push back into much of the northern US.  The storm would bring heavy showers and thunderstorms over the central US and more snow over the Great Lakes and Northeast.

We are still expecting a strong weather system to track out of the southern Plains to end the cold pattern around March 2nd. This should be strong storm and could develop into a potent Nor’easter for the eastern US. This would bring a 1-2 day warm up before cold air on the backside of the storm would push back into much of the northern US. The storm would bring heavy showers and thunderstorms over the central US and more snow over the Great Lakes and Northeast.

 

natural gas weather

We have been saying the pattern to close out the first week of March would be quite sloppy and we still see it that way. The forecast models are and will continue to provide wildly varying forecasts after the coming cold blast and big central US storm. The image shows many ways the pattern can play out with areas of colder or warmer conditions shaded around March 9. Some solutions showvery cold conditions continuing for the northern US while others don’t have have nearly as much cold air over Canada to be tapped.  We detail how we see it playing out in in the following two images.

 

natural gas weather

This is what we think the most likely way the pattern sets up to start the second week of March. A very sharp temperature gradient will exist over southern Canada into the northern US. Exactly where the very cold air will be is still a bit uncertain. But what is more important will be weather weather systems that should be tracking across the northern US. We believe they are likely to occur and if they do, it will drag some of cold Canadian air through the Midwest and Northeast for another round of  below normal temperatures. Image is temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground in Celsius around March 7th. Dark blues and purples represent very cold air.  See next image for how cold would be drawn into US.

 

This is what would happen around March 8th if a likely storm were to track across the northern US.  Cold air would be tapped and drawn into the Midwest and Northeast.  If temperatures in this image came to fruition, it would bring another round of below zero and single digit readings.

This is what would happen around March 8th if a likely storm were to track across the northern US. Cold air would be tapped and drawn into the Midwest and Northeast. If temperatures in this image came to fruition, it would bring another round of below zero and single digit readings to all of the northern US.

 

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