This is Hurricane Gustav. I've been keeping my eye on this storm for awhile. It's still several days out, but it's looking more and more like it's going to impact US energy infrastructure. Oil platforms, ports, refineries, pipelines, etc. The forecast track of the storm has been pretty consistent, aiming roughly at Louisiana:
However, the Florida Panhandle and Houston/Galveston are still within the "cone of uncertainty." It's still too early to accurately predict where it will make landfall or what intensity it will reach, but it looks like it's going to hit the US, and the National Hurricane Center is now predicting it could be a Category 5. This
looks like the worst case scenario for New Orleans. It shows both Gustav and the next storm, Hanna, making landfall just west of New Orleans within a week of each other. (West is worse than east, because the upper right quadrant of a hurricane is the strongest.)
Of course it's way too early to accurately predict where Hanna Montana will wind up, or if it will be strong enough to be a threat. But there are at least two more storms lined up behind Hanna:
We're headed into an interesting stretch, weather-wise.
And it may not be just Gulf Coast residents who have to worry. Katrina caused gasoline price spikes and even shortages throughout the US, because it took out so much energy infrastructure. It's possible Gus will be worse. And if there's a follow-up punch by Hanna...Katy, bar the door.
Like I said, it's way too early to make accurate predictions. But it might be a good idea to fill up your gas tank. It's an outside chance, but it's possible that a lot of Gulf Coast electrical infrastructure will go down, and if it does, it could cut off the supply of oil and gas from the Gulf. Possibly for weeks. I know, prices are rising because of the impending three-day weekend - but better safe than sorry.
And as an aside...if Gustav does turn out to be Katrina redux, what a bummer for the GOP. They are holding their convention next week. Nobody will be interested if there's a disaster going on down on the Third Coast. And they'll have to be very careful not to appear insensitive, partying during a crisis. (Especially in light of Bush's "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" moment.)