MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hurricane Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it is continuing to be a threat to both lives and property.
Isaac is threatening the stability of a dam in southern Mississippi and that has resulted in an evacuation order for 50,000 people across the border in Louisiana. Isaac is expected to create heavy downpours not just in southern states but up into the Great Plains throughout the weekend.
The heavy rain will fall in drought stricken states, but it appears too late to save crops. And the rising of prices at the pump as a result of Gulf Coast refineries being shut down is already being felt in the Twin Cities.
Isaac’s aftermath will bring badly needed rain into states hit hard by a devastating drought. The corn crop in states like Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana has been especially hard hit. University of Minnesota agronomist Jeff Coulter said it’s one of the worst drought years the nation has seen since 1988.
Food prices are aslo expected to continue to jump sharply.
“If we could have got this rain that is occurring with the hurricane earlier in the season that would have been beneficial, particularly in July,” he said.
As for gas prices, Twin Cities consumers are already feeling the hit. Sarah Hoffer, of St. Louis Park, was filling her car up in downtown Minneapolis Thursday.
“It’s a little bit of a sticker shock,” she said.
According to GasBuddy.com, Twin Cities gas prices average $3.75 a gallon. That’s a jump of 10 cents a gallon from a week ago and a jump of 20 cents from a month ago.
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And with many oil refineries still shut down, prices are expected to keep climbing through the busy Labor Day weekend, just when Sarah Hoffer and so many others are planning their final summer getaways.
“I am heading up to my cabin, which is four hours away,” Hoffer said. “Not looking forward to filling up before I go up out there.”
However, there is some good news. Isaac did not destroy any refineries like Hurricane Katrina did seven years ago, and that means when the storm passes the refineries will reopen, meaning prices will come back down after Labor Day.