NASA released this chilling satellite photo of the massive snow and ice storm that has spread across nearly one-thirds of the Continental U.S. this week, disrupting everything from traffic to commerce to city budgets.

The economic impact of the storm is expected to be big when all the snow clears. A record number of flights have been canceled, businesses are closed, I-70 in Missouri has been shut down for the first time in history, work was halted at 22 Ford, GM and Chrysler plants, and municipalities are paying big for extra services and snow removal.

There are a few upsides to the weather. One we reported yesterday on Marketplace, and that's in the snow derivatives market. Let's just say now's a good time to be betting on snow.

The other: "It's a great time to be in the snow removal business, that's for sure."

That's according to Mike Zawacki, editor of the trade magazine Snow, who joined us on the show today to discuss the $8 billion to $12 billion per year professional snow removal industry.

"We're expecting it to be more towards the $12 billion area this year," he said.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Matt Berger at @byMattBerger