The weekend blizzard, dubbed Winter Storm Nemo by The Weather Channel, is likely to cause serious economic implications according to experts. In October economists were all trying to predict Hurricane Sandy’s impact. After the storm was over, the biggest impact we saw was in the spike of jobless claims that occurred during and after Sandy.
Of course at this point it’s too early to tell what effect Winter Storm Nemo will cause. Two to three feet of snow covered much of the Northeast over the weekend, shutting down businesses and forcing flight cancellations.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told CNN that snowstorms have the potential to cripple the economy by keeping supplies out of areas that need them the most, damaging communication towers, sinking ships and killing off livestock. Hourly workers also lose money because of their inability to work when businesses close down.
Towns and cities are also impacted by the high cost of damage repair, loss of business and snow removal. According to CBS News, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said it costs $1.2 million to remove every inch of snow that falls in the state. New York paid out over $20 million to remove snow in the 2003 blizzard.
Some businesses already felt some effects before the storm hit. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and grocery stores tend to do a lot of business before storms hit as consumers stock up on basic necessities. Home supply stores like Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) and The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) also do well, both before and after bit storms as consumers prepare for the storm and then repair the damage it left behind.
The weekend blizzard hit much of the area that is just beginning to recover from Hurricane Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a few days in the wake of Sandy, however it is open today. One factor that may mitigate some of the economic impact of the storm is the fact that it landed over the weekend, giving people in the Northeast a day or two to dig out before the work week began again.
Nonetheless, Connecticut is basically shut down after President Obama declared a state of emergency there. Travel bans were issued in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the U.S. Postal Service even suspended deliveries in seven northeastern states.
Over 600,000 people were without power in the wake of the storm, and although some residents of the area do have their power back on, some utility companies in the affected areas don’t expect to have the power back on until Thursday at the earliest.