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La Nina Is Here, Weather Experts Say. So What Does It Really Mean?

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Just last week weather officials announced that La Nina climate conditions have arrived in the United States and are expected to stick around through at least the first part of 2018.

But what does that really mean?

According to Direct Energy Business Meteorologist Beau Gjerdingen, La Nina patterns typically favor:

  • Warmer than normal conditions across the Southern United States
  • Cooler than normal conditions across Western Canada and through the upper Midwest.

“While we call these impacts ‘typical’ we rarely get a typical Nina or Nino winter,” Gjerdingen said.

What Does that Mean for Me?

 Well, it’s complicated.

 As Gjerdingen alluded to, every La Nina is different and there are many other factors that can influence things.

 “This is only one of the many mechanisms that influence winter conditions across North America.   There are numerous other factors that go into the forecast; including things like Pacific and Atlantic Sea surface temperatures, Arctic and Siberian snowpack and Arctic Sea Ice extent,” he said.

 But given what we know now, the Weather Channel is predicting that the winter will be wet for the northern part of the U.S. and dry/warm for the south.

“Winter 2017-2018 will feature a nationwide split between colder-than-average and wet conditions in parts of the northern states, while the southern tier will see warmer-than-average and dry conditions overall,” the winter outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Influence on Natural Gas Prices

 Of course, the reason why we discuss weather so much on the Direct Energy Business blog is because it ultimately can impact the prices of natural gas and electricity.

Tim Bigler, a Direct Energy Business veteran market strategist said, “Weather driven demand is always a factor in the winter. But year-over-year demand increases from Liquified Natural Gas and Mexico exports and the industrial sector imply the potential for stable-to-higher prices, and volatility on both normal and critical days.”  



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Posted: November 13, 2017