Last week, Jeff told you about my nor’easter forecast. And since fears of that storm shut down most of the Northeast this week, he asked me to send you an update while he travels to Germany.
First off, even though the weather guys (including the National Weather Service) were forecasting a “potentially historic blizzard,” that was not the case. Much less snow fell than they were predicting, which is what I told Jeff on a phone call this Monday when he asked: “Is this really a storm of historic proportions?” My answer: “Not at all.”
Not that 7 inches of snow in Central Park and 20 to 30 inches in the Boston area is anything to sneeze at. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped into overkill territory when he shut down the New York subway system for the first time in its 110-year history because of snow. The result of this overreaction: The Big Apple was shut down and some $200 million of economic activity from McDonald’s to mom-and-pop stores, to subway stations and town cars went off the books.
So, why was the snowstorm this hyped? Consider what Cuomo said on Monday. He announced that the storm was enhanced by “climate change,” aka global warming.
It seems certain politicians, and like-minded weather forecasters, don’t believe the public will buy climate change unless each big weather event is exaggerated. Every extreme storm has to be more spectacular than the last — otherwise the global-warming story just doesn’t work.
The thing to keep in mind is that snowstorms and polar vortices are common throughout history. For example, this week’s snowstorm occurred on the same date that two feet of snow fell on Central Park in 1805. Then there are the blizzards of 1888, 1969, 1978, 1996, 2005, 2013 … well, you get the idea. Nor’easters are never nice and there have been many that were far worse than this week’s.
So when a politician uses a storm like this to spout off about climate change, you can bet that it’s coming from an ill-informed position.
As for the snowstorms you can expect in the near future … while February’s weather may not be one for the record books, it will still be pretty spectacular. A storm spreading sleet, freezing rain and snow across the Midwest this weekend will develop into another strong snowstorm for the Northeast on Monday. It will be followed by another one later in the week, around Thursday, and again around February 12. Parts of northwest Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Maine and New Hampshire will easily see another two feet of snow by the middle of February.
And you haven’t seen the last of this week’s blizzard. It is headed to northwest Greenland, where it will loop westward and intensify the cold air over eastern Canada. Right now, a lot of cold air is pooled up over Canada and the jet stream — the river of fast-moving air 30,000 feet above the earth — is trying to keep it there. This week’s blizzard, just like Monday and Thursday’s snowstorms, will strengthen and expand the polar vortex that normally sits over northeast Canada, buckling it south.
As a result, more frigid air will hit the U.S. For one, extremely cold air will sweep the Northeast on Tuesday — with temperatures in the single digits in Boston. Another polar plunge will shove afternoon readings to below zero in Chicago and Minneapolis on February 7 and 8. That particular chunk of cold air will sweep the Northeast early the following week.
Then we will get a cold-weather break in the middle of the month before another batch sweeps in around February 24.
So far, winter has been good to us. We’ve closed out some triple-digit gains, including the 139% and 101% half gains we took in Carnival. Now spring is just around the corner, and we’ve already made a nice gain by closing half of Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN) for a 129% profit. And more spring trades are on the way! In fact, I’m preparing my spring forecast right now, and you should see it in the coming weeks.
There’s a silver lining in every cloud,
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
P.S. To see the updated portfolio, just click here.