It is the winter and in the winter it snows. But sometimes even the most hardened, aren't ready for a massive snowfall. A snowfall that resulted in at least 1o deaths. A snowfall that crippled the east coast of the U.S. and Canada. A snowfall that resulted in traffic and travel bans through-out New England.
Yes, Nemo came fast and hard - and really we weren't ready for it. Here in Ottawa we knew the snow was coming but still people insisted on sticking to their regular routines. This resulted in a high number of traffic accidents and many stories of people getting stuck and losing power. This is not the first time we've had a big dump of snow this season - but it seems that most folks forgot what it was like to drive in such volumes of snow...
The east coast was hit much harder - with people losing power for days, businesses being forced to shut down, and many folks were left stranded - literally leaving their cars stuck on the highway. Flights were cancelled. The post office closed.
At first glance the impact of Nemo appears to be over. People have power back. Driveways are clear of snow. The roads have been cleared and people are back to driving a touch too fast for winter conditions.
But in reality, Nemo will be felt for quite some time. Imagine you're a business owner who was hit in the fall by Superstorm Sandy... You're likely just getting back to business - inventory is back on the shelves, you and your staff have got your houses and apartments cleaned up, and you're starting to see some sales and a slow rise in your numbers. And then it snows. It snows a lot.
You lose power again. You're forced to close your business over the weekend and then stretching into mid-week. Your staff can't get around. Your suppliers can't fulfill orders.
You're right back where you were after Superstorm Sandy. This can be really hard to take.
Reports now are revealing that the combined impact of Sandy and Nemo is having and will have large financial implications. Think of the hourly wage earner - the business is closed, so there is no work - this means less money earned and less money to spend. Now think of the business owner, stock that has yet to be paid for is on the shelves but the storm has forced the business to close - now there is no income to pay for this stock. Think of the cost to cities and municipalities who have to pay for and manage this snow removal - this does not come cheap.
In 2010 two massive snow storms hit the United States. Here is the economic impact of these storms (from CNNMoney):
According to the American Highway Users Alliance, states suffered hundreds of millions of dollars more from the storms. New York suffered the biggest economic hit, losing a projected $700 million daily in retail sales and wages. Illinois lost $400 million, while Pennsylvania lost another $370 million.
So the next time says, "It's just a little bit of snow," - it is in your best interest to think back to February 2013 and 2010.