Weather

Hurricane B-Boy Would Also Be Funny

brianhuntersgreatestachievement.jpgSome of us walked to work this morning, because why not, and upon getting into the office remarked to our publisher, “Jesus fuck it’s hot out. Seriously, my jeans are sticking to my body, it’s disgusting. Feel it, it’s so gross.” Sick of listening to our complaining, Publisher, who declined to touch the actual dampness, responded, “Well, genius, that’s what happens when there’s about to be a hurricane. It gets humid out. Hey idiot, I’ve got a tip for you at dealbreaker dot com: try reading a book on weather or taking a science class.”
We took a pass on both suggestions on the basis of a categorical refusal to read books or take science classes, but having little interest in finding out what Bernanks was up to (or not up to), decided to look into this hurricane of which David Minkin spoke. Apparently it doesn’t yet have a name (nomination: Carney, because he likes to see his name in print as often as possible), and by Sunday, could become the seventh Atlantic tropical system of 2007 and the first to affect the East Coast.
Okay, great. But affect us how, we wondered? Do we care about buildings being damaged? No. Subway usage being limited? Not so much—there are these things called cabs. People who might be dispossessed from their homes? Not really. Looting and killing in the streets? No.
We sat at our computer for a while, really having a difficult time relating to/having an interest in something that will probably have no impact on our lives whatsoever (except for the fact that we’ve got plans to get melanoma in Central Park on Sunday, and JC melts when it rains). But then we remembered—some people could stand to make a lot of money off of a hurricane, if—fingers crossed—it’s big enough, and does enough harm. People like John Arnold. And Ken Griffin. And—this is almost too much to bear—Brian Hunter. B-boy! And if B-boy makes (or loses) a lot of money, you know what that means—we get to use the fish picture! Do you know of anyone else who stands to win big (or crash and burn) based on this weekend’s predicted drizzle? And a graphic as awesome as the fish one to go with? Let us know!

  • 16 Jan 2007 at 2:01 PM
  • Weather

Making The Weather Your Bitch

Whether it’s farmers in California standing to lose upwards of $1 billion, or Wall Streeters celebrating like school girls over not having to shroud their much-loved blue shirt/black pants ensembles in winter coats, weather, as previously stated (and stated again) matters. Still not convinced? Try this one on for size: Forbes has made a video called Wall Street’s Weathermen: How U.S. markets hedge the risk posed by climate change. As everyone knows, this litmus test (Has Forbes Produced A Video On The Subject?) is as good as any. But simply “knowing” that weather matters doesn’t really do much for you, does it? How about if it meant you could turn a profit? From TechCrunch:

San Francisco based WeatherBill, the service which lets you bet on the weather (it can also be used for insurance), took down their landing page and launched today.
The company is not disclosing the size of their round of funding. However, it includes venture firms NEA and Index Ventures, as well as a number of well known individuals: del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter, Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom (through his Atomico fund) and Howard Morgan (idealab and First Round Capital), as well as others who declined to be named.
WeatherBill is perfect for small and medium sized businesses who’s businesses are affected by the weather. If a golf course wants to be paid $1,000 per rainy day, WeatherBill will create a policy on the fly for them.


WeatherBill Launches, Announces All Star Investors
[TechCrunch]

It wasn’t just Amaranth energy trader Brian Hunter who thought this was going to be a tough hurricane season. Some of our most prestigious weather scientists were making dire predictions, according to a report from Bloomberg news.

In many years, “Dr. Gray’s Tropical Storm Forecast,” the title of a Colorado State Web site where the free report is updated monthly during the hurricane season, proved uncannily accurate. Early in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the reports correctly predicted the number of named storms in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico for the entire year…
Last year, when a record 28 named storms formed in the Atlantic, the Colorado State report sounded an early alarm, warning in May 2005 of “a well-above-average hurricane season” and predicting 15 named storms.
That track record is one reason this year’s first forecast, published in April, drew so much attention.
“We foresee another very active Atlantic basin hurricane season,” Klotzbach and Gray wrote. They predicted 17 named storms, five of them intense hurricanes. The paper said there was an 81 percent chance of a major hurricane striking the U.S. coastline. It put the risk of one of them hitting the Gulf Coast, the center of U.S. oil production, at 47 percent.

As it turned out, no major hurricanes struck the US coastline, and that calm helped keep down the price of oil futures. So when Hunter made large bets with Amaranth money that spreads in gas futures would widen due to hurricanes, he wasn’t merely repeating the strategy that worked for him in 2005. He was adopting an investment strategy based on the best available opinions of weather experts.
Investing: The hurricane forecast that hit Amaranth hard [Bloomberg in the International Herald Tribune]