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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/453

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A YEAR OF WEATHER AND TRADE.

consumption of pork products, poultry, etc., which depleted supplies and raised prices in these lines. The natural consequence of a short corn supply was thus seen to be higher prices for cattle and hogs.

During the first week of May, nearly the entire country east of the Rocky Mountains had highly favorable temperature conditions, but the unsettled crop conditions in the southwest were the reason of a failure to give much support to Missouri Pacific and Atchison stocks. Throughout May unusually heavy rains. in the northwest retarded farm work and interfered with trade there. During the week ending May 24, Chicago, where the average daily temperature excess was 12°, reports 'the feature in the drug trade was the increased call for soda-water supplies caused by the hot weather. 'The coal strike, which had begun to attract considerable attention, was much less of a burden on the general public than it would have been if the weather had been cooler.

The examples above given, which are but a few of those that are available, show clearly enough something of the effects of the weather upon trade, industry and financial transactions. No attempt has been made to estimate the financial loss or gain due to the weather conditions of any single week, or month, or of the year as a whole. Approximate estimates of this kind can be, and often are, made in individual cases, as in the case of the damage done by some storm to crops or to transportation interests in some particular section, or in that of the money value of one rain to cereals, fruits and vegetables in a time of drought. But it has seemed to the writer that no useful purpose could be served by attempting, in the present article, to make any such rough estimates as are alone possible.

The principal object of this investigation was to ascertain, if possible, whether the relation between weather and trade could be expressed in fairly exact meteorological terms. In order to study this subject, the Weather Bureau charts showing the weekly (or, in winter, the monthly) temperatures and precipitation, and the departures from the normal temperatures and precipitation were used. On these several charts the stations were located at which trade was reported as having been affected by the weather. Cities where trade had showed effects which were ascribed to the temperature were noted on the charts showing departures from the normal temperature, a sign being used in each case to show whether the effect was beneficial or otherwise. Cities where the reports indicated favorable or unfavorable effects of precipitation were noted in like manner, on the charts showing the departures from the normal precipitation. In some weeks there was found an extraordinary agreement, the good effects of 'seasonable' weather upon trade being found at cities situated within, or close to, districts of normal temperature or precipitation, while the unfavorable effects of ex-