Thursday, September 22, 2005

Panic At The Pumps

On the way home tonight I couldn't help notice that every gas station I passed was busy, and some even had short lines at some of the pumps. After what happened in the days after Katrina hit, motorists are apparently taking no chances with Rita. They're filling up with cheap gas while they still can.

The concern is apparently justified. All the refineries around Houston and Port Arthur--representing 20% of the nation's refining capacity--are either already shut down or in the process of doing so. This is in addition to the 5% of capacity still offline in Louisiana and Mississippi. Additionally, the oil rigs out in the Gulf itself are in the process of being evacuated.

Meanwhile, the cause of all this consternation is down to category 4 status at the moment. It's in the process of replacing the eyewall, a normal part of the life cycle of hurricanes. Once that's completed, Rita will likely strengthen again.

It's actually quite eerie. The storm is still some 36 hours from landfall, and already a sense of dread has overtaken much of the country. It's a weird feeling, knowing what's coming and being totally powerless to do a damn thing about it.

0 thoughtful ramblings: