Captain's Log 15 Feb '21 Polar Vortex About to Exit U.S.!

Captain's Log

Happy President's Day Monday! :)



Winter had been relatively tame through January but that certainly changed here in February. CLICK ON IMAGES FOR A LARGER VIEW.

15 Feb 2021 log 2

February snowfall so far is the most in 7 years, 21% more than last year and 46% above average. February snow has certainly helped to clear out snow accessory merchandise. But, seasonal snowfall since September is still trending 6% less than last year and 6% below average - the least in 5 years for the U.S. overall.

15 Feb 2021 log 3

With a piece of the Polar Vortex camped out in the North Central U.S. (near historic cold for this time of year), storm systems have been like a parade traversing the periphery of the vortex. This has brought heavy snow and ice to the Deep South, with major disruptions to travel and retail sales.

15 Feb 2021 log 4

This past week (6-15 Feb) has brought temperatures 8.4F colder than last year making this week at least the coldest in over 36 years and very likely the coldest in 125+ years for the U.S. overall. This is a big negative for early Spring merchandise sales that did well in February and March last year. Spring apparel likely down 25% or more YOY while the winners would be Winter related merchandise on clearance - Soup +8%, Coffee +17%, Bird Seed +25%, Energy Consumption (bad news for consumer discretionary income) +42%. Auto Batteries +59%, fire logs 67%, portable heaters +84% and at least triple digit sales gains for ice melt.

While the Vortex is about to exit the U.S. for the later week of February, the YOY trends still show tough comparable trends to last year when it was such a warm February and March. This suggests retail sales will be slow to move for early Spring merchandise.

15 Feb 2021 log 5Last week (7-13 February) showed the U.S. trending 10F colder than last year, coldest in 32 years with much below average temperatures. While 24% drier than last year and driest in 5 years, it was still a bit above average. Snowfall was 38% more than last year and 9th most in 36 years for the U.S. overall.

Canada was pretty much coast-to-coast cold in the heart of the Polar Vortex with the coldest conditions in over 36 years. Europe and Russia were the coldest in 9 years as was Australia down under in their Summer. China was the warm spot trending warmest in 12 years.

15 feb 2021 log 9 early

This week (15-21 February) the U.S. looks to trend 9F colder than last year, coldest in 6 years and 2nd coldest in 36 years. A very stormy week with rainfall the most in 23 years while snowfall and ice is off the charts trending most in 36+ years.

15 Feb 2021 log 6

A parade of storms will continue to plague the periphery of the Vortex from the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South into the Northeast.

15 Feb 2021 log 7

Next week (22-28 February) shows the vortex lifting out with a milder and drier pattern returning. The U.S. overall looks to trend +0.5F warmer than last year, warmest in 3 years and 10th warmest of the past 36 years with above average national temperatures. A less stormy pattern with the driest conditions in 23 years and least snow in 21 years...many of us will welcome the change!

15 Feb 2021 log 8

The overall 2-week World aggregate shows a warming trend across Europe with the Polar Vortex parking over Southwest and Central Russia.

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- Captain Kirk out.