Scapegoating Nemo: Meet The "Culprit" For The Upcoming Q1 GDP Miss

Tyler Durden's picture

Just as it was all tropical storm Sandy's fault for somehow impacting the national economy from California, to Florida, to Oregon and all the way to Vermont, but more importantly - giving economists a scapegoat on which to blame the acute weakness in economic data in the November timeframe, so tomorrow's "historic" blizzard will be the inevitable reason for which the economy will once again perform "below expectations." It will have nothing to do with the ongoing reign of authoritarian terror conducted by the residents of the Marriner Eccles building, which has made a baseline growth rate of 1% in the artificial economy an optimistic outcome. Because, as everyone knows, in a centrally-planned, priced to absolute perfection economy, no exogenous variables, such as snow storms in the middle of winter, can possibly be allowed or certainly factored for. Which is why expect to hear a whole lot more in the next 24 hours about Blizzard Nemo: after all propaganda patterning demands that everyone has a clear image of the perpetrator when the time comes to cast all blame on one single event and to distract from the real cause of now structural underlying economic weakness.

Sure enough, moments ago the National Weather Service just issued a blizzard warning from 6 am Friday until 1 pm Saturday.

355 PM EST THU FEB 7 2013

 

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM FRIDAY TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY...

 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM FRIDAY TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY.

 

* LOCATIONS...SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT.
* HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS.
* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 18 TO 24 INCHES.
* WINDS...NORTHEAST 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES...DROPPING INTO THE 20S BY FRIDAY EVENING.
* VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES.
* TIMING...THE STRONGEST WINDS AND HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR FRIDAY EVENING INTO SATURDAY MORNING.
* IMPACTS...HEAVY SNOW AND WINDS WILL MAKE FOR DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS WITH VISIBILITIES NEAR ZERO IN WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS.  IN ADDITION...SOME TREE LIMBS WILL BE DOWNED...CAUSING SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES.

 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

 

A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.

Expect a cornucopia of sell-side reports as early as today warning that due to Nemo everything: from job data, to housing, to retail sales, to capital spending, to exports, and ultimately, GDP, will be impacted as a result of snow in winter.

Some more on Nemo from the Wunderground blog:

Historic Nor'easter poised to slam Boston and the Northeast U.S.

A potentially historic Nor'easter is brewing for the Northeast U.S., where blizzard watches are up for much of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, is expected to bring heavy snows of 1 - 2 feet, coastal wind gusts over hurricane force, and moderate to major coastal flooding. During the peak of the storm, Friday night into Saturday morning, snowfall rates of 2 - 3" per hour can be expected. These intense bursts of snow may be accompanied by lightning and thunder. The cites of Boston, Hartford, Providence, Portland, and Burlington are all likely to get more than a foot of snow, and two feet of snow will probably fall along a swath from the western suburbs of Boston to Southwest Maine. With the Nor'easter generating these heavy snows expected to bomb out with a central pressure of 972 - 976 mb, the rapid flow of air around this low pressure center will generate ferocious sustained winds near 50 mph at the coast, with wind gusts in excess of hurricane force--74 mph. The combination of heavy snow and high winds will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible, with near-zero visibility in white-out conditions. Total snowfall from the storm is likely to rank in the top ten for Boston since weather observations began at Logan Airport in 1936. According to NWS, here are the top snowstorms since 1936 for Logan Airport:

1. February 17-18, 2003 27.5"
2. February 6-7, 1978 27.1"
3. February 24-27, 1969 26.3"
4. March 31-April 1, 1997 25.4"
5. January 22-24, 1945 22.8"
6. January 22-23, 2005 22.5"
7. January 20-21, 1978 21.4"
8. March 3-5, 1960 19.8"
9. February 16-17, 1958 19.4"
10. February 8-10, 1994 18.7"
11. January 7-8, 1996 18.2"
11. December 20-22, 1975 18.2"
11. December 26-27, 2010 18.2"


Figure 1. Predicted wind speeds in knots at 7 am EST Saturday, February 9, 2013, from the 00Z February 7, 2013 run of the European (ECMWF) model. The model is predicting sustained winds of 50 knots (57.5 mph) will affect Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Multiply by 1.15 to convert knots to mph.

Serious coastal flooding expected in Massachusetts
The high winds from the storm will drive a damaging storm surge of 2 - 4' along the coast of Eastern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday morning. Of particular concern is the flooding that will occur during the Saturday morning high tide cycle, as that is the time of the new moon, which will bring the highest tide of the month. The ocean's height in Boston varies naturally by about ten feet between low tide and high tide, so it matters greatly when the storm surge arrives, relative to the tidal cycle. Thus we speak of the "storm tide"--how how the water gets above the high tide mark, due to the combination of the storm surge and the tide. During Hurricane Sandy, on October 29, 2012, a potentially very damaging storm surge of 4.57' hit Boston, but arrived near low tide, so the water level during the peak surge did not rise above the normal high tide mark. As of noon EST on February 7, 2013, the latest storm surge forecast from the GFS model is calling for a storm tide of about 3.4' above high tide (MHHW, Mean Higher High Water) on Saturday morning, which would cause only minor flooding in Boston. This would be the 10th highest water level on record in Boston since tide gauge records began in 1921. According to former NHC storm surge expert Mike Lowry, who now works for TWC, the official top 5 storm tides at the Boston tide gauge, relative to MHHW, are:

1. 4.82' - February 7, 1978 (Blizzard of 1978)
2. 3.92' - January 2, 1987
3. 3.86' - October 30, 1991 (Perfect Storm)
4. 3.76' - January 28, 1979
5. 3.75' - December 12, 1992

More serious flooding is expected in Cape Cod Bay to the southeast of Boston, where the northeast winds from the storm will pile up a higher storm surge. A storm surge of 3 - 4' is predicted from Scituate to Sandwich Harbor Saturday morning. The surge will be accompanied by battering waves 20' feet high, and major flooding and coastal erosion is expected. Major coastal flooding is also expected on the east end of Nantucket Island.


Figure 2. Coastal flooding hazards during the high tide cycle on Saturday morning, February 9, 2013, as predicted at 12 pm EDT Thursday, February 7, 2013, by the NWS Boston.