While New Orleans may not have entirely dodged the proverbial bullet with Hurricane Katrina, it did manage to escape with only a flesh wound. The storm, which had been a category five with 175 mph winds yesterday, dropped to category 4 status before hitting land with 145 mph winds. Additionally, the eye wall passed 20 miles further east of the city than originally forecast. While damage was still heavy, it wasn't the absolute worst-case catastrophe that had been feared.
For some 9000 of the city's residents, the Superdome--home of the NFL's New Orleans Saints--was the shelter of last result. No immediate word on whether season ticket holders got the best seats, but everyone became alarmed when the roof of the 77,000 seat stadium began to peel off because of Katrina's relentless winds.
The storm's damage will not confined to the Gulf coast, however. Even now, with Katrina's center over northeastern Mississippi, it remains a strong tropical storm with winds at 65 mph. And what's left of the former hurricane will continue to drop tornadoes and produce massive rainfall totals as it makes its way towards the eastern great lakes and Canada.
And lest the snickering masses on the east and west coasts think they got off scot-free, some experts are warning that the entire country may experience as much as a 15 cent jump in gas prices by the end of the week. The reason is that offshore oil production throughout the Gulf of Mexico has been severely disrupted, and it may take a few days to get everything up and running again.
Of course, one solution to the oil shortage may be Venezuela. If we were to take out its America-hating President, we'd have access to a lot of crude.
I'm surprised no one else has suggested that.