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Winter storm Jonas: Your loss is someone elses gain
Not everyone is taking losses from devastating Winter Storm Jonas. Find out which industries have the most to gain from severe winter weather, and which have the most to lose. - photo by Sam Turner
The devastating storm dubbed "Winter Storm Jonas" that hit the East Coast this past weekend left as many as 37 dead, reports The Weather Channel, while costing an estimated $500 million to $1 billion in damages, lost wages and other expenses, says the Atlantic.

But not all industries are affected negatively by harsh winter weather.

"There are winners and losers to a winter storm, Ryan Sweet, director of real time economics at Moodys Analytics, told Forbes.

Here are some of the top winners and top losers.


Snow-removal industry

Somebody has got to clean up the mess. And states, counties, cities and individuals will be willing to pay for the snow removal.

Forbes reports that New York City spent $130 million on snow removal in 2014, using 500,000 tons of salt.

As a part of these costs, companies who build and operate snow-removal equipment stand to gain from harsh winter weather.

In anticipation of this weekend's storm, the share price of Briggs and Stratton Corp., a company that makes snowblowers and power generators, went up 9.8 percent, according to MarketWatch. Chief Financial Officer Mark Schwertfeger told MarketWatch that this storm may relieve low sales this year.

Hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes also saw some increase in sales as people stock up on snow shovels and salt, says Forbes.

Grocery stores

Frantic shoppers rushed grocery stores late last week to stock up on essentials for a weekend indoors.

Photos of empty store shelves in the D.C. area have been popular on Twitter over the weekend.

Food suppliers have a lot to gain from the influx of buyers. "Winter Storm Jonas is a financial boon for the likes of Whole Foods Market, Kroger and Wal-Mart Stores grocery division," reports Forbes.

Furthermore, says that grocers see a second surge of customers immediately after winter storms as people restock on essentials.


Insurance industry

The claims are coming! The claims are coming!

It's still too soon to make an accurate estimate, reports Fortune, but a similar storm in 1996 resulted in an "insured loss of $920 million in current dollar terms."

There are traffic incidents and other damages to property and homes. According to The Weather Channel, the storm is responsible for several roofs caving in.

Last year's storm on the East Coast caused a huge influx in claims. We get two or three claims a week on average, and now weve seen 30-plus claims this week so far," Gibson Insurance Associates vice president Tom Skelly told Insurance Journal.

Hourly workers

New York City imposed a travel ban on Saturday, reports USA Today, preempting further accidents and deaths. But whether travel was banned or not, 30 inches of snow was enough to prevent many from getting to work.

And while salaried employees enjoy a snow day, hourly workers take a hit.

"Its these hourly workers who were affected by the storm much more than salaried office workers, who get paid even during inclement weather," reported the Atlantic.

Restaurant and retail workers who work weekend shifts were especially affected, says Forbes.


More than 12,000 flights have been canceled because of the storm, reports the Wall Street Journal, leading to massive losses.

Airlines lose an average of $5,770 per canceled flight, says the Wall Street Journal, which means over $6 million in losses to airlines.

"Its costly to cancel and reschedule flights, and in many cases, some routes will not be rescheduled at all," reports Fortune.

Monday and Tuesday flights are still being canceled.

Online shopping?

You would think that harsh weather would mean more people inside on their computers, browsing the Internet and making online purchases. This is not the case, however.

During the big storm in January 2015, there was actually a $35 million decrease in online sales, says Money.

During the work week, a lot of people really do shop from their work desktop, Adobe analyst Tamara Gaffney told You also have power outages and people out shoveling snow. Theyre not shopping, theyre doing other things. It has a negative impact on e-commerce.
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