Friday, January 8, 2010

Wrapup: "U.S. Girds for Icy Weekend as Europe Braces for Snow "

A twofer. First up Bloomberg who have done a lot of work pulling the headline story together (I know, I have a lot of the sources in various terminals and feedreaders, I saw the Texas electricity datapoint was reported by the Houston Chronicle):
Electricity use in Texas hit a winter high and orange-juice futures rose by an exchange limit today as the U.S. Northeast and South girded for a frigid weekend. Europe braced for more snow.
The forecasts come after a week of storms and cold that have hampered coal and grain shipments, shut down trains and livestock markets and sent energy demand soaring across the Northern Hemisphere.
“A good chunk of the country has been feeling the chill the last one to two weeks,” Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., said in a telephone interview from State College, Pennsylvania. “The number of record lows set in the past week, there’s been 400 of them. That’s pretty significant to have that many of them over a week.”
Texas electricity demand reached a seasonal record as temperatures in Dallas dropped to 17 degrees. Demand climbed to 55,856 megawatts at 8 a.m. local time, topping the record of 52,001 reached yesterday, said Dottie Roark, a spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s grid.
“Everything is operating normally,” Roark said today in a phone interview. “We shouldn’t have any problems barring unforeseen emergencies.”
Gas Demand Up
Cold weather this week has lifted gas demand and is forecast to do so through Jan. 13 along the East Coast, according to MDA EarthSat Weather, based in Rockville, Maryland. The Northeast will feel the Midwestern cold by the weekend, Kines said....MORE

From the WSJ's Real Time Economics:

Decline in Jobs Influenced by Bad Weather

The headline decline of 84,000 jobs in the December employment report was worse than expected, but a key culprit may be the weather.

Temperatures in the U.S. were running above normal from October through late November, but turned sharply lower last month right around the time that the Labor Department calculates its jobs numbers. The household survey of the jobs report showed that the people “not at work for weather reasons” hit 283,000, the highest reading since 2005. Those people are still counted as employed, but the elevated level suggests the extent of weather-related effects in December.
The cold snap may have triggered seasonal layoffs in outdoor areas of employment, especially construction. Indeed, the construction category of the December report noted a drop of 53,000 jobs....MORE