August 28, 2005

KATRINA HAS AN IMPACT and it hasn’t even made landfall yet:

U.S. crude oil futures surged more than $4 in opening trade on Monday, hitting a new record high above $70 a barrel after Hurricane Katrina forced Gulf of Mexico producers to shut in more than a third of their output. Katrina, which strengthened into a rare, maximum power Category 5 hurricane as it spun through key oil and gas fields toward New Orleans, shut in a total 633,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to company figures on Sunday. It also forced the closure of seven refineries and a major U.S. crude import terminal.

The refinery damage may be the bigger issue, if the storm performs as feared.

UPDATE: Here’s more on economic damage, including a map of refineries in Louisiana.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Comic relief via Shepard Smith. Crooks & Liars has the video.

MORE: TigerHawk has more on the economic impact of Katrina.

How do you know it’s time to evacuate? When The Weather Channel reporter bugs out.

BREAKING NEWS: It’s all Bush’s fault.