A powerful storm swept across the Midwest near the end of this past weekend, leaving a trail of damages in its path, CNN reports. While most of the region was subject to severe gusts of wind and thunderstorms, some areas, such as Washington, Illinois, saw the touchdown of tornadoes, a rare occurrence for this time of year. So far, eight fatalities have been directly linked to the outburst of severe weather.
For the people not located near the region, the most tangible impact may have been the delay to the football game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens, which was postponed by over two hours in Soldier Field, Chicago, while storms raged overhead. Though football will often proceed through rainy weather, the conditions were judged to be simply too harsh for play to continue.
The economic consequences of the storm have already proven to be far-reaching. Perhaps the most obvious effect is the massive destruction of property that the winds, lightning strikes, and tornados have caused. Hundreds, if not thousands, have been left virtually homeless as their dwellings were leveled by the inclement weather. Businesses, too, have not been spared from the effects, with several establishments taking severe damage. This is bad news not only for those whose homes and enterprises have been directly affected, but also for insurance companies, which will have to dole out colossal sums in payments to those with contracts to prevent against natural disasters.
Another effect of the storm has been the loss of power to many homes and businesses throughout the Midwest. The phenomenon is perhaps most prevalent in Michigan, where over half of a million locations have been left without power. This not only hampers individuals and causes wastefulness of energy, but it also can seriously effect business operations in areas where power is scarce; few businesses these days can operate at full capacity without electricity. Transportation routes were also impacted by the winds and rain. A train derailed in Indiana after colliding with a fallen log. Airplanes in and around O’Hare Airport, one of the largest hubs in the country, experienced delays as landings and takeoffs were delayed. Mackinac Bridge, the road connecting the two peninsulas of Michigan, was closed to commercial traffic due to the high wind velocities across the straits.
After Pat Quinn, the governor of Illinois, declared a state of emergency in several of the areas of the state that were damaged the most severely, the response from government agencies and private relief groups was virtually immediate. This, too, has a cost; while private organizations, such as the Red Cross, obtain funding from donations, the government agencies are funded by the American taxpayers, meaning that they, too, will have to bear part of the burden of the storm’s relief.
At least some good may come of the storm; construction companies are sure to have their work cut out for them in the region over the coming weeks, as will repair crews for roadways and power lines. Stores specializing in home improvement, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, may also stand to benefit as people look to replace appliances and other products damaged in the storm. Still, disasters always bring far more sorrow than any small economic upside could possibly hope to negate.
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