BLOG: Cool temperatures to continue across much of US in April - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: Cool temperatures to continue across much of US in April

ANDOVER, Mass. (March 23, 2015) — WSI (Weather Services International) has issued its latest forecast for the April-June period. The forecast indicates below-normal temperatures across southern and eastern coastal sections, including the Carolinas, with continued above-normal temperatures expected in the western and most of the northern US. The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford, “The 2015 El Nino event is currently emerging from the depths of the tropical Pacific, and the atmospheric response will promote below-normal temperatures in April from the south-central states to the Southeast and up the East Coast. Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures will continue to persist across much of western and northern US. As we head towards summer, the presence of El Nino, combined with western drought and relatively cool Atlantic Ocean temperatures, will favor another reasonably cool summer across much of the eastern two-thirds of the US. Unfortunately, the western heat and drought will likely persist through the summer. There is hope, however, that the 2015 El Nino event will be strong enough to force beneficial western rains next winter.”

In April, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:

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

According to Chris Kostas, Senior Power and Gas Analyst at ESAI Power LLC, “Weather-related energy demand is typically very soft in April as heating demand begins to fade from the Northeast and as cooling demand remains minimal in the South and West. With colder-than-normal temperatures expected in the Northeast this year, however, a marginal increase in natural gas demand should combine with nuclear outages and coal-fired retirements to support power and gas prices in New York, New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. A significant portion of the nation's coal-fired fleet is expected to retire mid-month due to the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule (MATS), effective April 16. Warmer-than-normal temperatures in the West should keep electrical loads slightly firmer than normal in that region, though loads are not expected to be firm enough to result in a significant impact on power prices. Reduced hydroelectric supplies in the West, related to below-normal snowpack this winter, will also help to support western power prices slightly as electrical loads begin to increase.”

In May, WSI forecasts:

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

Kostas added: “While natural gas prices are expected to be relatively soft in May (due to the year-over-year increase in natural gas production), warmer-than-normal temperatures over the northern half of the country should help to firm implied market heat-rates in MISO, PJM, New York and New England, particularly as electrical loads begin to increase later in the month. Generator maintenance will continue to influence power prices and implied market heat-rates by reducing available baseload generation. The effect of coal-fired generator retirements, related to the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), should begin to affect power prices and implied market heat-rates in May as electrical demand begins to increase. With considerable coal-fired generation typically offline anyway, due to maintenance during the first half of the month, the full extent of MATS retirements won't be felt until electrical loads begin to increase this summer. Cooler-than-normal temperatures, centered over Texas and covering the southern half of the country, should help to keep power prices soft in ERCOT as generators return to service from maintenance.”

In June, WSI forecasts:

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

Kostas noted: “With June temperatures expected to run warmer-than-normal in PJM and MISO, we expect the first real effects of this year's coal-fired retirements to be felt by early summer. Year-over-year natural gas demand is expected to increase as the gas-fired fleet is called on to replace the lost coal-fired generation. Implied market heat-rates are expected to become quite lofty in these regions as relatively soft natural gas prices combine with increasing cooling demand later in June. With warmer-than-normal temperatures also expected in California and the Northwest, power prices and implied market heat-rates are also likely to be strong considering the diminished hydroelectric potential caused by the below-normal Western snow pack this winter.”

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

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