Deep freeze could cost U.S. $5B
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- CDC lauds schools for better nutrition
- Erika wanes as Tropical Storm Fred forms in Atlantic
- Obama administration developing sanctions against China over cyberespionage
- Pope Francis’ lack of familiarity with United States unusual
- Obama inches closer to veto-proof support for Iran nuclear deal
- Memorial service for slain Virginia journalists brings call for action
- University of Texas removes statue of Confederate President Davis
- Supreme Court can resolve Kentucky county clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to gays
- Motive in ambush of Houston area deputy remains unknown
- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Fischer open to interest rate hike
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina