Snowstorm ‘Jonas’ comes to an end with hefty price tag
America is bracing itself for a costly cleanup as the deadly blizzard “Jonas” subsides. The snowstorm, which has brought much of the East Coast to a standstill for the past few days, has killed 25 people, but the full financial damage is still unknown.
The historic storm, nicknamed “Snowzilla,” is likely to result in “multi-billion” dollar economic losses, reinsurance broker Aon Benfield told Fortune Monday.
He said it was too soon to calculate insured losses, noting a similar storm in January 1996 caused an estimated economic loss of $4.6 billion and an insured loss of $920 million, in current dollar terms.
Others believe the storm will cost between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, as Ryan Sweet, director of real time economics at Moody’s Analytics, estimated, according to Forbes. This figure includes output that will not be made up by overtime work or deferred spending. It does include the cost of damage to infrastructures.
In addition to physical damage to property and the high costs as a result of business interruption, there is the cost of the actual snow removal.
Jonas, the second biggest snowstorm in New York since 1869, dropped 26.8 inches (68.1 centimeters) of snow in Central Park.
Considering it cost New York City $2.5 million per inch to clear ice and snow in 2015, according to Forbes, the price tag for clearing up Central Park is likely to be at a least $67 million.
Gotham paid $118.7 million in removing 47.5 inches of snow last year. New York had its biggest snow removal bill in 11 years in 2014 when the total clocked in at $130.7 million., according to the most recent report on the city’s expenditures, published in January 2015. They used 500,000 tonnes of salt that year.
In the Midwest, budget impacts were significantly lower, with Minneapolis forking out $10.2 million in 2014 and using 10,700 tons of salt during the winter season of 2014-2015 to deal with snowfall of 27.2 inches.
Meanwhile, Louisiana paid only $1.2 million between October 2014 and mid-2015 on weather cleanup for the entire state.
Winter Storm Jonas has created some short-lived beneficiaries, however, as people stocked up on necessities.