The last week of August saw a pair of tropical storms hit the Gulf Coast states in what has already been an extremely active North Atlantic hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Marco arrived first in eastern Louisiana near New Orleans, prompting evacuations and a closure of the city’s flood gates, which remained closed as Hurricane Laura then arrived a couple days later coming ashore near Lake Charles in the western part of the state.
Hurricane Laura went down as the fifth strongest storm ever to make landfall in the U.S. Over 750,000 people fled the coast ahead of the storm, and at least a half dozen casualties were reported.
Packing more of a punch with the damaging winds and storm surge of a Category-4 storm, Laura passed through prime offshore Gulf oil and gas platform areas, leading to temporary shutdowns and evacuations. Furthermore, much of the oil and energy industry’s refining capacity lies on the coast around Houston up through Galveston and into Louisiana.
Last week saw crude oil refinery output fall 0.8 million per day from the previous week as storms shuttered six oil processing facilities that account for nearly 12 percent of U.S. refining capacity.