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Deep freeze may have cost economy about $5 billion



Published: Thu, January 9, 2014 @ 4:52 p.m.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hunkering down at home rather than going to work, canceling thousands of flights and repairing burst pipes from the Midwest to the Southeast has its price. By one estimate, about $5 billion.

The country may be warming up from the polar vortex, but the bone-chilling cold, snow and ice that gripped much of the country — affecting about 200 million people — brought about the biggest economic disruption delivered by the weather since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, said Evan Gold, senior vice president at Planalytics, a business weather intelligence company in suburban Philadelphia.

While the impact came nowhere close to Sandy, which caused an estimated $65 billion in property damage alone, the deep freeze's impact came from its breadth.

"There's a lot of economic activity that didn't happen," Gold said. "Some of that will be made up but some of it just gets lost."

Still, Gold noted his $5 billion estimate pales in comparison with an annual gross domestic product of about $15 trillion — working out to maybe one-seventh to one-eighth of one day's production for the entire country.

"It's a small fraction of a percent, but it's still an impact," Gold said.

Major U.S. airlines, which canceled about 20,000 flights starting last Thursday, lost anywhere from $50 million to $100 million, said Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. in New York.


Comments

1JS(556 comments)posted 6 months ago

Not to mention damage to our environment caused by huge amounts of carbon dioxide discharged by furnaces and generating plants running overtime. Global warming is the real enemy and not the cold.

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