National Weather Service
When scientists start using phrases such as "the worst drought" and "as bad as you can imagine" to describe what is going on in the western half of the country, you know that things are bad. Thanks to an epic drought that never seems to end, we are witnessing the beginning of a water crisis that most people never even dreamed was possible in this day and age. The following are 20 signs that the stunning drought is starting to become apocalyptic...
Anyone hoping for a resolution of the biggest economic conundrum of modern times will have to wait. What is the conundrum you ask? Simple: whether or not extreme adverse weather is positive or negative for GDP. It appears that any expectation Arthur would devastate the east coast, with either positive or negative GDP consequences, has been cancelled. Because not only has Arthur just been lowered to a Category 1 hurricane from 2, but now appears to be moving away from the east coast entirely.
When American explorers first traveled through north Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, they referred to it as "the Great American Desert" and they doubted that anyone would ever be able to farm it. But as history has shown, when that area gets plenty of precipitation the farming is actually quite good. Unfortunately, the region is now in the midst of a devastating multi-year drought which never seems to end. Right now, 56 percent of Texas, 64 percent of Oklahoma and 80 percent of Kansas are experiencing "severe drought", and the long range forecast for this upcoming summer is not good. In fact, some areas in the region are already drier than they were during the worst times of the 1930s.
With so much of the recent bad news roundly ignored or simply "priced in" and blamed on the snow, it is unknown just what it is that catalyzed the overnight round of risk-offness, but whatever the ultimate factor, it first dragged the Nikkei lower by 1.8%, as we noted previously, then sent the SHCOMP down by 0.55%, then ultimately dragged the USDJPY below the key 102 support area which in turn pulled US equity futures to set the scene for a red open (with no POMO and no Yellen testimony today which also was canceled due to snow), and, putting it all together, suddenly Europe too is back on the scene, with a blow out in Italian yields driven by the realization that the Letta government is on the edge of collapse, in a deja vu moment to those hot summers of 2011 and 2012.
Here comes the latest one - Pax. Weather.com's description of what is about to be unleashed on Atlanta and the entire Eastern Seaboard is nothing short of a review of the movie The Day After Tomorrow: "Potentially "catastrophic" Winter Storm Pax began unfolding before dawn Wednesday in the Atlanta area as temperatures dropped below freezing and sleet and freezing rain began to fall." The National Weather Service's warning was not exactly cheery: "Let’s just start by saying this winter storm may be of historic proportions for the area,” the agency said in a forecast analysis. “We’re looking at significant snowfall totals north and significant, crippling ice totals, especially along the Interstate 20 corridor.” Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said forecasters use words such as "catastrophic" sparingly. Not in this case. "Sometimes we want to tell them, 'Hey, listen, this warning is different. This is really extremely dangerous, and it doesn't happen very often,'" Jacks said. The service's memo early Wednesday called the storm "an event of historical proportions." It continues: "Catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective."
It is still all about the Yen carry which overnight tumbled to the lowest level since November, dragging the Nikkei down by 4.8% which halted its plunge at just overf 14,000, only to stage a modest rebound and carry US equity futures with it, even if it hasn't helped the Dax much which moments ago dropped to session lows and broke its 100 DMA, where carmakers are being especially punished following a downgrade by HSBC of the entire sector. Also overnight the Hang Seng entered an official correction phase (following on from the Nikkei 225 doing the same yesterday) amid global growth concerns and has filtered through to European trade with equities mostly red across the board. Markets have shrugged off news that ECB's Draghi is seeking German support in the bond sterilization debate, something which we forecast would happen a few weeks ago when we pointed out the relentless pace of SMP sterilization failures, with analysts playing down the news as the move would only add a nominal amount of almost EUR 180bln to the Euro-Area financial system. Elsewhere, disappointing earnings from KPN (-4.3%) and ARM holdings (-2.5%) are assisting the downward momentum for their respective sectors.
Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from Utah to Pennsylvania this morning. As Bloomberg reports, hundreds of flights across the US are being canceled as the threat of snow, ice, and sleet (and up to 8 inches of snow in New York City) "impact the morning commute." The storm will move across the central U.S., bringing showers and thunderstorms to the Central Gulf Coast tomorrow morning and expanding northward into the Tennessee Valley by Tuesday evening, the weather service said. In other words, we have our first good excuse for a crimped consumer not spending once again in February - the weather.
Following last night's surprise event, which was China's HSBC PMI dropping into contraction territory for the first time since July, which in turn sent Asian market into a tailspin, the most relevant underreported news was a speech by International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara who said that "As long as steady progress is being made toward the 2% target, we do not see a need for additional monetary accommodation in Japan." He added that while exit from unconventional monetary policy "is still very likely some way off for the euro area and Japan, I believe that the moment to start planning is now." This warning - an echo of prcisely what we said yesterday - promptly roiled the Yen, sending it far higher and sending the EMini futures sliding by over 10 tick in no time: a drop from which they have not recovered yet.
With California experiencing emergency drought conditions and sun-glass-clad bronzed beauties driving their convertibles around in Lake Tahoe amid not an inch of real snow, the East Coast - just emerging from the cocoon following Polar Vortex 1.0 - is, as we warned, about to be confronted with another chilly blast of "Arctic Cold" weather with temperatures up to 25 degress below average and 8 inches of snow due for New York City tomorrow, and wind chills up to 40 below for the Upper Midwest On the bright side, it will be a BTFD opportunity for all those missed earnings expectations for Q1 retailers.
JFK Shuts Down After Plane Skids Off "Ice Skating Rink" Runway: Entire Nation Blanketed In Subzero Deep FreezeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2014 10:35 -0400
It's cold out there. Cold enough that JFK's runways are so frozen, airplanes literally are skidding off runways, which is what happened seconds ago to a Delta airplane landing at JFK.The result: JFK is now closed until further notice. But that's just New York: elsewhere America is gripped in a cold spell which may beat all records, as 140 million Americans are expected to see subzero temperatures in the coming days, including the deep south. As CNN reports, "The deep freeze gripping much of the country is about to send temperatures plummeting to unbelievable lows. Parts of the Midwest and Great Plains will plunge as low as 30 degrees below zero on Sunday. That's where the Green Bay Packers will host the San Francisco 49ers in what could be the coldest football game in NFL history. By Wednesday, nearly half the nation -- 140 million people -- will shudder in temperatures of zero or lower, forecasters said. Even the Deep South will endure single-digit or sub-zero temperatures."
In a day that will be remembered for the first major snowstorm to hit New York in 2014 and test the clean up capabilities and resolve of the city's new populist mayor (not starting on a good note following reports that JFK airport will be closed at least until 8:30 am Eastern), it was only fitting that there was virtually no overnight news aside for the Chinese non-manufacturing PMI which dropped from 56.0 to 54.6, a new 4 month low. Still, following yesterday's ugly start to the new year, stocks in Europe traded higher this morning, in part driven by value related flows following the sell-off yesterday. Retailers led the move higher, with Next shares in London up as much as 11% which is the most since January 2009 and to its highest level since 1988 after the company lifted profit forecast after strong Christmas trading performance. Other UK based retailers with likes of AB Foods and M&S also advanced around 2%.
There really is very little reason why this "government shutdown" cannot continue indefinitely because almost everything is still running. 63 percent of all federal workers are still working, and 85 percent of all government activities are still being funded during this "shutdown". It turns out that the definition of "essential personnel" has expanded so much over the years that almost everyone is considered "essential" at this point. In fact, this shutdown is such a non-event that even referring to it as a "partial government shutdown" would really be overstating what is actually happening. In the end, this shutdown could turn out to be very good for America. We have a government that is wildly out of control and that desperately needs to be reigned in.
The devastation from what is being described as a mile-wide tornado is horrifying according to local news. The live feed and raw footage of the aftermath suggests casualty rates will be significantly higher as the evening progresses... "The tornado on the ground right now is huge and has hit through populated areas,"