Economic cost of winter weather likely in millions for Panola industry

Published 6:22 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

While many were enjoying the beauty of last week’s snow across the Panola County landscape, and perhaps appreciating a day off from school and work during the near-zero temperature days, the economic impact of the winter weather accumulated more than the few inches of precipitation that covered the ground.

Panola Partnership Executive Director Joe Azar and his office kept close contact with the county’s industry leaders, but were helpless when the arctic blast slowed factory productivity, along with most other retail activity in the region.

“From all we gathered, our companies were running at around twenty-five percent capacity,” Azar said. “Most were unable to receive raw materials needed to conduct manufacturing, and estimated losses to companies are in the millions.”

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By Monday, most of the county’s factories were back to work at full capacity and anxious to make up for lost production. “Most understood this was an anomaly in our weather system,” Azar said.


“The economic impact of this frozen weather will reflect a substantial loss on corporate books for years to come. Retailers of essential goods were able to sell most of their inventory prior to the storm, which made up much of their losses. Unfortunately, most retailers took huge losses and incurred unexpected expenses,” Azar said.

He noted that employees from both the industrial and retail sectors suffered the most because some will lose personal days depending on company policies.

“Some employees are living paycheck to paycheck, and they will be the most affected. They will be faced with less money to spend in our local stores this week, so it’s a vicious circle,” he said. 

“Panola Partnership will do all we can to support our industries and retailers of every size. In some cases, all we can offer is compassion. Panolians, like Mississippians, and Americans, always find a way to persevere,” Azar said. “Our compliments to the leadership and employees of our county and cities, for doing all they could with what equipment and materials they had. They did this work as quickly and safely as possible and led the charge among our surrounding counties.”