How Weather in Winter 19/20 Could Affect Your Organization: 7 Industries Highlighted
Long-range forecasts are all about managing risks and opportunities. Lots of companies have to monitor for potentially disruptive events or risks; long-term forecasts provide a means to do that. For example, energy traders can gain an advantage from probabilistic views of future conditions when buying and selling contracts. Opportunities also exist for retailers; being forewarned of conditions detrimental to sales allows you to plan better.
Knowing what the conditions could be in the coming weeks and months can unlock new opportunities to become more cost-efficient. Effectively, you can save - or even 'make' - money with reliable long- term forecasts. It all comes down to being prepared and optimizing the decision-making processes.
The way this information is used, and the benefits it can open up vary between different industries. As part of our Winter Outlook Weather, we explored how the expected weather patterns this winter could affect businesses across Europe and how we came to these conclusions through our unique sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasting capabilities.
What is seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasting?
Seasonal forecasting covers between 1 - 6 months ahead, predicting significant departures from normal for months/seasons.
Sub-seasonal forecasts cover between 2-6 weeks ahead, broken down into a week by week forecast. It predicts general weather patterns, but not day-to-day events, with a focus on the risk of extreme events, such as excessive rain or cold snaps.
Reliability is a vital component of seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasting. The accuracy does vary, but it is demonstrably better than random chance. Essentially the performance is underpinned by the forecast confidence.
How could the Winter 19/20 weather affect different industries?
#1 Water Utility companies
Water utility companies need to know the likelihood of impactful weather conditions. Specific weather conditions result in:
● Heavy rain: Results in increases in waste water and water treatment issues
● Extended dry conditions: Cause water supply shortages
Seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts are particularly useful if a season is likely to see a higher number of wind storms, increased episodes of heat and drought, or if snowfall and cold weather are likely to fall outside of seasonal averages.
#2 Energy markets
Energy traders and analysts are typically familiar with the benefits of long-range forecasts. They’re very conscious of the impact weather conditions have on demand and generation, and, consequently, the associated energy prices.
For example, if a winter starts mild, then the demand for energy will be lower than average, as people switch on their heating less or have the thermostat set at a lower temperature. The price of energy will fall, with excess gas being stored up.
#3 Gas transmission and distribution
Gas transmission and distribution companies benefit hugely from accurate, probabilistic, seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts. When they have a view on the likely trends for the coming month or season, for instance, this allows them to make money or offset losses.
This is because weather conditions have a significant impact on the demand for gas. Unusually cold snaps need to be anticipated, so that organizations can prepare for spikes in demand. And, at the same time, more mild weather results in lower the demand for gas.
Reliable seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts make it easier for food producers to monitor and create crop yield predictions. It also enables them to plan ahead more effectively.
#5 Power transmission & distribution networks
Power transmission & distribution companies use seasonal and sub-seasonal to:
● Prepare and respond to winter storms
● Ensure power supplies are restored ASAP after weather-related outages
Floods, lightning strikes, heat waves, and cold spells cause disturbances and, without adequate preparation, can result in power outages. Long-range forecasts can play a significant role in this preparation. It's all about risk management, often accompanied by scenario planning, to be ready before the weather event occurs.
Highways agencies, transport companies, and the automotive industry are all impacted by weather conditions. In particular severe weather in winter can cause road closures and travel disruption. For winter road maintenance, maintaining salt stock levels for road gritting is essential. Severe weather conditions can also increase the demand for breakdown recovery services and disrupt logistics and supply chains.
Weather conditions impact customer demands for products. For example, if you know that a cold snap is expected to occur earlier than usual, clothing retailers can take advantage of this by stocking up on jumpers and coats.
The weather can also have an impact on the supply chain and logistics, with disruption to roads and other transport routes, causing stock and delivery delays.
How will Winter 19/10 impact your organization?
Do you want to know how Winter 19/20 could impact your organization? Watch our webinar: Winter is coming! Is your business prepared? Hear a summary of our thoughts on winter 2019 - 2020 for Europe, including how the expected weather patterns could impact various business sectors.