The U.S. National Weather Service’s Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, or AWSSI, keeps track of weather data such as temperature, snowfall, and snow depths for various cities, and assigns these factors points. Based on the winter of 2013’s data, it was the worst year on record for Detroit, and in the top five worst for Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis, and New York. Add to that the crippling blizzards and ice storms that touched down in various cities, and it was a particularly tough winter for all involved.
Knowledge of severe winter weather, and its impact, is important information for organizations with emergency assistance funds set up for employees. Along with cold temperatures and higher heating bills, severe winter weather can have a catastrophic impact on individuals and communities. Ice storms cause mass power outages, downed power lines, and strand many in their homes for several days at a time. Damage to homes from heavy snow and strong winter winds is widespread.
Not only will the weather impact employees as individuals, but it can have significant effects on your business. If employees are absent from work (let alone other weather-related impacts on your operations), there can be a substantial drop in overall productivity. This is particularly true since severe winter weather will typically impact broad swaths of employees at the same time.
Plus, when there is record snowfall in many areas, the worst may be yet to come. Warm spring temperatures could see mass flooding across many parts of the country, leading to even more devastation as homes and communities are overwhelmed with water from melting snow. Employees may find themselves experiencing severe personal and financial hardship as a result of these weather-related disasters. Is your emergency assistance fund up to the challenge?
Source: Sutherland, S. 28 February 2014. It’s official: ‘Misery Index’ confirms this has been one of the worst winters ever. Yahoo News. Retrieved from:http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/geekquinox/official-winter-misery-index-confirms-just-awful-winter-205436337.html