“If a new PC or hard drive is on your holiday wish list, you may be in for a rude surprise: supplies are running low and prices have skyrocketed, all because of an extreme weather event that took place halfway around the world,” Andrew Freedman of Climate Central notes.
“One wouldn’t normally think of the weather as a key factor governing supplies of electronic equipment. This isn’t cotton or rice that we’re talking about; it’s high-tech equipment that’s manufactured indoors, in climate-controlled facilities. Nevertheless, even typically non-weather sensitive businesses can become victims of extreme events like heavy rainfall, which is becoming more frequent and intense due to global warming.
“During the fall, massive flooding in Thailand inundated the factories of some of the world’s leading hard-drive manufacturers, such as Western Digital. According to the Wall Street Journal, 40 percent of all hard drives on the market are built in Thailand. And as the Global Post reports today, many of the factories are situated in the same industrial zone that sits in a floodplain north of Bangkok. ‘The pungent waters, which shut down more than 800 factories employing roughly 450,000 workers, are now struggling to repair or replace equipment left soaking for weeks,’ the Post reports, quoting the CEO of Hana Electronics as saying:
‘Frankly speaking, we’ve realized with hindsight that we’re in the wrong place… We’re in a flood zone.'”