The disruption to air travel alone has been massive. According to FlightAware, 39,000 flights were canceled last month, the most since 21,000 in October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast.
Those businesses most likely to blame weather for poor results don't get much sympathy on Wall Street, but they now won't be alone. The weather is expected to have been severe enough to affect activity across the broader economy.
(Read more: Best growth in 10 years despite government headwinds)
Weather has been cited as a factor behind a series of squishy economic reports, including December's surprisingly weak jobs number and the ISM manufacturing survey this week.
"It adds insult to injury for retailers and restaurants," Swonk said. "We also had schools closed, so people were out of work there. It's a question mark how much will show up in the payroll numbers."
The January jobs report is expected to show that 185,000 nonfarm payrolls were added last month, up from an anemic 74,000 in December. Economists say the number may have escaped some weather impact because the survey for the report was conducted during a week of milder January weather.
The impact could also show up in ADP's private sector payroll report and in the ISM services sector survey, released Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET, respectively. Traders expect selling in stocks if those numbers miss expectations, regardless of whether weather can be blamed.
(Read more: Markets fear U.S. chilled by more than weather)
"The price action is telling you that these markets can deal with tapering as long as U.S. growth is picking up, but if the Fed is tapering at the same time U.S. growth is slowing down, that becomes a problem for markets," said David Woo, head of global rates and currency research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Fourth-quarter growth was a strong 3.2 percent, but most economists expect to see a slower first quarter.
Data have "been weighed down by the weather," Woo said. "What worries me is [that the first-quarter] GDP growth is correlated more to the weather than the fourth quarter."
For instance, he found that based on a study of 10 years of activity, retail sales are correlated more to cold weather in February than in December—possibly a negative indicator for first-quarter consumer spending.
Woo expects the weather to continue to be reflected in economic reports, and therefore markets, but said there should be a strong rebound in economic activity this spring.