| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Deep freeze could cost U.S. $5B

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 10:09 p.m.

MINNEAPOLIS — Hunkering down at home rather than going to work, canceling thousands of flights and repairing burst pipes from the Midwest to the Southeast have a 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 happened from its breadth.

“There's a lot of economic activity that didn't happen,” Gold said.

Major airlines, which canceled about 20,000 flights starting Jan. 2, lost anywhere from $50 million to $100 million, said Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. in New York.

School closures took their own toll, keeping home parents who couldn't find alternatives for their kids.

The insurance industry has yet to estimate costs, but Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute in New York, said insurers plan for about $1.4 billion in winter storm catastrophe losses in any given year.“We certainly know there is an epidemic of frozen and burst pipes this week,” Hartwig said.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Wrong drug may have been used in Okla. execution
  2. Civil servants’ pay, benefits exceed private-sector counterparts, Cato study finds
  3. Oregon college town sets gun rights protest for Obama visit
  4. Foes of California mandatory vaccine law fail in repeal bid
  5. McCarthy drops out as GOP speaker candidate in shocker
  6. Alaska to feel remnants of former Hurricane Oho
  7. Dozens of terror plots disrupted in America, FBI claims
  8. Longtime Mars lakes tantalize NASA scientists
  9. Ex-CEO of Chicago Public Schools to plead guilty to $23 million kickback scheme
  10. SeaWorld’s expansion of orca tanks criticized
  11. McCarthy withdraws candidacy for speaker