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Wintry weather could disrupt scrap flow

Keywords: Tags  National Weather Service, scrap flow, winter weather, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — As a blast of wintry weather descends on the eastern half of the United States, scrap suppliers across the country are preparing for what could be a serious disruption in the flow of material.

A large storm extending from the Great Lakes and Northeast to the Central Gulf Coast is expected to move northeastward to southeastern Canada and off the East Coast by Dec. 10, according to the National Weather Service. The agency forecasts the front to produce freezing rain and sleet over parts of the Mid-Atlantic, with snow developing over the Great Lakes into New England late Dec. 9.

Several sources in regions affected by the weather said they had already experienced a "somewhat serious disruption" in day-to-day operations. Additionally, shipping delays caused by dangerous conditions on highways is creating a slight backlog in flow, traders said.

"Our volume tapered off dramatically over the last week," one East Coast recycler told AMM. "In general, people can’t go out to get in the trucks and move material. It’s not going to take much to shut things down for a day or two."

One scrap trader noted that some suppliers were using the weather as an excuse to hold material through year-end. "They were planning on holding the scrap until January anyway," he said. "Mills get hungry in January, not December."

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