Monday, January 6, 2014

Off to an Icy Start

A major winter storm disrupted the first two work days across large parts of North America. We might have been able to reboot the new year this morning, the first Monday morning of the 2014, basically pretending that last week didn’t count, but for another weather system bringing startlingly cold air to nearly all of the North American continent. This weather system is colder than the one we saw a month ago, and though it may linger for just a few days, it will be cold enough to do some damage in that short time. As one measure of how cold it is, all 49 of the U.S. states in North America are expected to record freezing temperatures tonight.

I write this as the cold weather has not yet reached where I am, and rain showers are melting the snow from the last storm. But it is barely sunrise, and the temperatures have already started to drop. Rain may give way to snow in about two more hours, and when the temperature falls below freezing, it is not expected to go back above freezing until Thursday or Friday. By the time the extreme cold air moves out, many of us will have lost the first week of the year. It is only a week, but looking at it a different way, it is 2 percent of the year. In macroeconomic terms, that is a big deficit to try to catch up from.

Those of us dealing with the weather when we had hoped to be working will have to do the best we can with it. Whatever we are able to accomplish in spite of this week’s weather will take some of the pressure off the weeks to come.