Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/452

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446 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Heavy snow and sleet storms during the last week of February did great damage to telegraph and telephone wires in some of the large eastern cities. Mail and transportation facilities were seriously inter- rupted. Stock exchange transactions in New York and other cities were limited to local orders, and this restricted sales. Trade in over- shoes and rubbers was larger during this week than for the two pre- ceding months. Floods and high water interfered with iron and steel production, with transportation interests, and with the coal output. The crippling of the railroads, which caused an unusual demand for structural materials, was noticed by 'the street,' but had little effect except upon the anthracite stocks, although March earnings were cut down by the February snowstorms.

Mild weather in the northwest early in March, and later on in the east, prevented loggers from getting out their entire cut, and led to the breaking up of many camps. By the middle of March the side- tracks were being cleared of the cars stalled there by the February storms; shut-down mills were running again; the advent of spring weather acted as an important stimulant to most lines of trade and in- dustry ; butter and eggs were lower ; the demand for building materials increased, and weather reports regarding wheat began to claim careful attention. According to one trade journal, ' each cloud is telegraphed as heralding copious rains, while a ray of sunshine means drought.' The injury to crops during the summer of 1901 made stocks peculiarly sensitive to indications of drought. During the week ending March 22, the most severe cold wave and snowstorm of the month caused cattle losses in Dakota which were estimated at 2-5 per cent. Milder weather soon followed, and somewhat relieved the strain on the coal trade.

The opening of lake navigation in April began greatly to facilitate traffic at the north. The week ending April 26 was one of con- trasts. Heavy snows interfered with farm work in Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota, while hot winds in the central valleys and middle Atlantic States brought unusually high maximum temperatures, which were detrimental to crops. In consequence, weather reports had more influence than usual in shaping the prices of cereals, which advanced until reports of general rains in the south- west caused a decline of 2 cents a bushel on wheat. The 'versatile' weather of the week produced erratic fluctuations in the security and cereal markets.

Much was heard during the spring of 1902 about the high price of beef and of other meats. These high prices were at least partly due to the large cattle receipts of the preceding fall, there being little in- ducement to carry stock through the winter, with corn at 60 cents a bushel instead of 20 or 30 cents. The high price of beef led to the

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