The U.S. is bracing for a major "bomb cyclone" snowstorm Wednesday that could bring airports and roads to a standstill up and down the eastern seaboard and add further spikes to commodity prices amid one of the most severe cold snaps in decades.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for scores of counties in the state, while Florida Governor Rick Scott has set up cold weather shelters in many northern areas as the storm bears down on the southeastern United Sates and makes it may up the eastern seaboard amid warnings of "dangerous travel, scattered power outages, tidal flooding, and very cold wind chills" from the National Weather Service
"By early Thursday morning, snow will begin to develop over parts of New England and expand into Northern New England by Thursday afternoon continuing into Friday morning," the NWS said in its most recent update. "The snow may ve heavy at times over New England. The snow will end over the Mid-Atlantic by Thursday evening. Additionally, some areas of rain and thunderstorms will develop over parts of Southeast Florida on Wednesday into Wednesday evening."
The storm, which has been dubbed a "bomb cyclone" by meteoroligists, owing to the extreme drops in pressure over a short period of time, has also had a major impact on U.S. commodity markets, with the bitter cold damaging wheat crops in the midwest and lifting prices to a one-month high of $4.36 per bushel and holding natural gas prices as similar 30-day peaks after reports of record demand for heating energy on New Year's Day.
Major east coast winter storm is expected to bring snow, ice, rain, strong winds, and tidal flooding to coastal locations from the southeast U.S. to New England Wednesday into Thursday. Hazardous travel is likely.— NWS (@NWS) January 3, 2018
Natural gas prices were last seen at $3.056 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) down from a one-month high of $3.096 on Tuesday after data from PointLogic Energy indicated Jan 1. demand of around 140 billion cubic feet amid one of the bitterest U.S. cold snaps on record.
Some foreign exchange professionals are also suggesting the storms could impact early 2018 readings for U.S. economic data, putting pressure on the U.S. dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies.
Will the Bomb Cyclone pave the way for the usual pattern of deteriorating US data in H1? $USDJanuary 3, 2018
The NWS's Ryan Maue said the storm may not bring as much snowfall as fronts have in the past, but nonetheless called it a "beast" and warned the cripplingly cold temperatures, in the form of what's being called a "polar vortex" are likely to follow into the weekend.
GFS 00z is a bit further west with the Nor'easter "bomb".— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) January 3, 2018
Now ladies and gentleman, this is a BEAST. But, I'm just not seeing the enormous snowfalls we'd expect with a blizzard. Again, it's the wind & extreme cold behind this storm that will be BRUTAL. pic.twitter.com/gAKUEjvPQg
U.S. airlines are also starting to warn passengers of severe disruptions, with Delta Airlines Inc. (DAL) offering refund details in the event of flight cancellations or delays. Delta shares were indicated 0.05% lower in pre-market trading Wednesday, suggesting an opening bid price of $56.71 at the start of trading.
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