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Winter storm continues to hammer businesses

February 17, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18%. 1 min read.

A pedestrian walks through the snow in McKinney, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. The energy crisis crippling the U.S. showed few signs of abating Tuesday as blackouts left almost 5 million customers without electricity, while refineries and oil wells were shut during unprecedented freezing weather. Photographer: Cooper Neill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The brutal winter storm in the United States is disrupting business across a range of industries, including many sectors that are still trying to recover from the pandemic.

Oil and gas production were particularly hard-hit by the storm, which closed refineries and other operations in the Permian Basin, the fracking capital of the United States.

The Energy Department reports that about 19% of the nation's oil refining capacity had been shut by the storm, along with about 7% of its natural gas output.

Manufacturers have been forced to close plants over bad weather, power outages, and a shortage of natural gas.

Zandi said the lost economic activity that might show up in data is cutbacks in oil and gas production and housing starts.

Plants in Texas operated by GM and Toyota remained closed Wednesday, as did a GM plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

That plant was closed due a shortage of natural gas, not the immediate weather in the area.

The nation's four largest airlines — American, United, Delta and Southwest — canceled 2,220 flights on Wednesday, after canceling 2,450 flights Tuesday.

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