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Below-normal temperatures eyed for much of northern half of US this spring

Warmer-than-normal weather is anticipated across the southern half of the U.S. this spring, while below-average temperatures are eyed for the northern half through May, according to the latest monthly outlook from The Weather Company issued Feb. 20.

In March, colder-than-usual conditions are expected in the Northeast, north-central U.S. and Northwest. Warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected for the remainder of the country during the month.

In April, temperatures are likely to remain cooler than normal in the Northeast, north-central U.S. and into the Northwest. All other regions should experience warmer-than-usual conditions.

"April is a shoulder month, which means the overall demand across the grid will be moderate. On the power load side, we are at a lull, which means the natural gas supply stack will be exposed to the renewable penetration on the grid. We have our eye on the middle vertical portion of the Lower 48 as MISO/SPP/ERCOT are looking at higher wind output year on year. This is going to make the power burn component interesting to say the least. Our expectation is for nominations to be stimulated by lower cash prices to help compensate for the renewable penetration knocking off both natural gas and coal-fired generation," according to Jeff Richter, principal at EnergyGPS, which prepared the forecast in conjunction with The Weather Company.

For May, temperatures will linger at below-average levels in the Northeast, north-central U.S. and Northwest. Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across the southern tier of the U.S during the month.

"We will be keeping a close eye on ERCOT, as there are several coal retirements that impact the overall power burn numbers within Texas. Since the current forecast is showing the South Central as warmer than normal, we expect power burns tied to the coal unit going offline to average around 0.3 Bcf/d or more, all else being equal," Richter said.

The Weather Company will issue its next seasonal temperature outlook March 20.