MINNEAPOLIS — Hunkering down at home rather than going to work, canceling thousands of flights and repairing burst pipes from the Midwest to the Southeast has its 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 — caused the biggest economic disruption due to weather since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, said Evan Gold, senior vice president at Planalytics, a business weather intelligence company in suburban Philadelphia.
"There's a lot of economic activity that didn't happen," Gold said. "Some of that will be made up but some of it just gets lost."
Major U.S. airlines alone, which canceled about 20,000 flights starting last Thursday, lost $50 million to $100 million, said Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. in New York.