The southern half of the U.S. with the exception of Florida and California is forecast to see higher-than-normal temperatures through February, according to Weather Services International.
The northern U.S. will have cooler-than-normal weather during the same time frame, according to the Andover, Massachusetts company, which is owned by the Weather Channel.
“Increased gas demand from the north, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, will only be partially offset by lower demand in the South,” said Chris Kostas, senior power and gas analysts at Wakefield, Massachusetts-based Energy Security Analysis Inc., which contributes to the forecast. “As a result, gas demand in December will likely be higher than normal.”
The prices for natural gas won’t be as volatile as in past cold Decembers because of higher inventories and production, said Kostas.
A La Nina, a cooling of the Pacific, is currently under way and it usually means warmer weather during the northern hemisphere’s winter in the U.S. South and lower than normal temperatures in the north, the statement said.
U.S. weather will also be influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation, according to WSI. The oscillation is a shift of pressure systems in Greenland and the North Atlantic. When the weather pattern is in what is called its negative phase it can mean harsher weather in the U.S.
“The historically persistent negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation suggests that any mild spells may be short-lived this winter across the East,” Todd Crawford, WSI’s chief meteorologist said in the statement.
Month-by month, WSI forecasts the Northeast, north central states and Pacific Northwest will have lower than normal temperatures in December, according to the statement. The southern half of the U.S., except for coastal California, will be warmer.
In January and February, WSI expects the Northeast to get warmer and the Southwest to get colder and all other areas to stay the same as in December. The only exception is Florida, which will be cooler than normal in January, according to the statement.
“With two straight months of warmer-than-normal temperatures and lower heating demand in the major demand centers of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, supplies are expected to be plentiful and gas prices subdued in February,” Kostas said.