Climatech above—The stars represent a weak El Nino and other teleconnections that predicted a cold November for some key energy areas, more than a month ago
Our in house proprietary long range weather forecast program–CLIMATECH began looking at a potential weak El Nino, stratospheric winds and other teleconnections to forecast a potential cold November for U.S. energy areas, more than a month ago and most likely, a cold snowy winter for many Midwestern, southern and eastern U.S. states.
In addition, our Climatelligence newsletter pointed out weeks ago about the possibility of a cold early winter for some key U.S. natural gas areas and mentioned how much more sensitive the natural gas market would be this winter due to tight stocks. Updated longer range outlooks are furnished every week or so in our newsletter. Will the cold weather pattern break down and offer a selling opportunity in the natural gas market, sometime down the road? Or will prices continue to soar this winter? REGISTER HERE FOR MY WINTER WEATHER OUTLOOK
The chart below shows that heading into late fall, natural gas stocks are well below last year and the five year average in all regions across the United States. In fact, stocks are some of the lowest since the incredibly active hurricane season of 2005. This makes any short term cold weather scare that much more exciting and sensitive to this market.
So why have natural gas prices exploded? The first legitimate cold scare for much of the Plains, Midwest and Northeast will dominate the middle half or so of November and is brought on by a combination of A) A potential weak El Nino Modoki; B) An increase in snow cover across Canada and the Arctic; C) A strengthening Polar Vortex; D) Record warmth and dryness over parts of Europe and Russia where a strong ridge is forcing pieces of this cold air, from the Polar Vortex, south.
The chart above shows the increase in snow cover over the Northern Hemisphere. What was an almost unprecedented ice-free arctic this summer, has bee replaced by rapid snow and ice growth. This does not change our longer term view about a warming planet and severe global environmental impacts. Nevertheless, as the map below illustrates, a stronger Polar Vortex (blue) is forming that opens the door for some potential extreme bouts of cold weather this winter.