The first hot new phrase of 2014 could arguably be “Polar Vortex.” According to Wikipedia, a polar vortex is a persistent large scale cyclone located near the planet’s geographical poles. It’s not the first time the phenomenon has been identified, but it certainly did become a common topic the week of January 6, 2014, when temperatures across the country dipped down to lows unseen since the 1990’s. All 50 states recorded freezing or below temperatures including Hawaii at the highest point of Mauna Kea, where temps reached 6 degrees below 0. Wind chills were reported as low as -60 in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and New Hampshire.
With more than 3500 flights nationwide cancelled, chain reaction accidents causing major traffic delays and tragically, 21 deaths in the US. We can easily blame the Polar Vortex of 2014 for manufacturing delays and freight industry interruptions. On average, weather related delays cost the freight industry $3.5 billion yearly, while it’s estimated that the overall impact of this month’s weather will cost the nation $5 billion comparatively. While it’s still too early to tell the total financial impact, we can predict that we’ll likely see price increases across the board from fuel to produce and other commodities.
Closer to home, Xact Warehouse Solutions did experience a couple of snafus due to the weather. One manufacturer shut down operations for a week and delayed a shelving order. And even a week after the height of the weather event, we are still feeling the effects with a missing shipment from another company. Thankfully, these delays have not affected our customers’ productivity thus far. How far reaching was the weather for you? Did you or anyone you know get to “blame the Vortex” for a snow day off of work? Let us know!