Wed June 22, 2011

Routine Weather Events can Be Costly

As temperatures go down heating bills tend to go up. And now one Colorado research facility has put a number on just how much strain changes in the weather put on the economy.

Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder used data from the last 70 years to evaluate the “weather sensitivity” of the nation’s economy. They say the costs of common weather occurrences, like rainy days or cooler than average temperatures, adds up to nearly $500 billion annually.  

Jeffery Lazo is an NCAR economist. He says Colorado’s economy is one of the more sensitive where states are concerned.

“We have some industries that are weather sensitive such as agriculture, the tourism industry and we do have a lot of variability across the state from the western slope and the Front Range.”

Lazo says they are planning to refine their national estimate. Right now it doesn’t include the costs of severe weather events, like this year’s devastating tornados in the south or recent flooding seen in mid and northwestern states.

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