After a cold/snowy and damp March in the Great Lakes and Northeast, we're going out with more wet weather but milder. The first 27 days of March have been below average in the Northeast and immediate East Coast but particularly cold in Alaska. The other cool spot globally has been in Asia. CLICK ON MAPS FOR LARGER VIEW
Precipitation March to date has been
Compared to last year, the U.S. has been much colder and wetter in the Eastern U.S. while the Southwest has been the warmer spot. Europe has been much warmer as has Siberia. This colder weather is a big negative for retail seasonal merchandise sales that benefit from warmer year-over-year weather trends.
With temperatures in the Northeast some 10 to 15 degrees colder than last year, the demand for Spring seasonal items is down strong double digits for many categories. Every 1F warmer brings 2% to 15% gains for seasonal items but the downside is also true. So, items like suncare may be down as much as 70% vs last year, 30% for Spring Apparel and yes even beer and cold beverages could be down as much as 10% (we drink cold beverage more when it's hot). Sadly your electric heating bill is going to be up as much as 50% in March as well across the Northern tier of the U.S. and especially the Northeast. Recall last year we had record heat (80s in early March in the Northeast) and very dry weather making it the 2nd best March a year ago. Throw in month-t0-date snowfall the most in 12 years for the Northeast and it's a particularly harsh start to Spring for retailers. They're fairing better in the Southwest but population and sales are not as significant for most retailers. Sadly farmers in the Southeast lost up to a BILLION dollars with the hard freezes wiping out the peach, strawberry and blue berry crops
And many retailers have been struggling for a long time so this could be the nail in the coffin for some big names
! In addition to the weather challenges, many can not compete with the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart e-commerce capabilities with global presence and 1-2 day delivery.
March will go out on the milder side in the U.S. but again wet across the Eastern half of the country. The second round of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes is likely this week in the South Central U.S. with a series of disturbances all week long.
They need the rain in this area with moderate to even pockets of extreme drought but certainly could do without the tornado threat.
There is also an unusually strong sub-tropical low pressure North of Puerto Rico that could become strong enough to be named by the National Hurricane Center early this week. It will move Northeast so no threat to land.
If it were named it would be the 2nd named March system since 1850. The last March system developed in a similar area way back in 1908. It would be Arlene; see 2017 Atlantic basin names above.
Our marketing guru came up with a March Madness video to highlight how wt360's year ahead forecast was one of the few forecasts to call for a colder, snowier, stormier March in the East, especially the Northeast.
Most had March "very warm, dry with little snow" with forecasts made just a week before the month. Statistics and 24 climate cycles again trumped traditional meteorology/physics/models. Sadly the cold did over a billion dollars in damage to the Southeast peach and strawberry crops and hundreds of millions in lost seasonal sales for retailers.
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- Capt Kirk out.