(WBNG) — Tropical Storm Barry just formed in the Gulf Thursday and is looming for Gulf Coast residents as we head into the weekend. Even before the tropical system approaches, parts of New Orleans are already underwater from recent storms. With more rain on the way, travelers have had to make other plans.
“Because it’s largely going to be a rain event, and possibly as much as 18 inches of rain in some very localized areas, I think maybe this would not be the right week to head to southern Louisiana,” said AAA Northway Regional President Richard Jacobs.
With Barry churning in the Gulf and potentially becoming a hurricane within the next day or so, there could be impacts to those traveling down to the Gulf Coast, as well as impacts to gas prices here at home.
“Well the first storm of the year is always an important news item. It causes refineries and oil producers to react with a little more care than maybe when the second or third storm comes,” said Jacobs.
Despite Barry mainly remaining a heavy rain threat, oil companies aren’t taking any chances.
“Some of the drilling platforms are being evacuated out of a sense of caution and the refineries are maybe possibly shutting down for a few days, just to be on the safe side,” said Jacobs.
Since operations will be shut down for a short time, consumers down the line can expect a slight increase in prices at the pump.
“You can expect a, probably a short-term upward trend in gas prices. Yesterday the price of crude oil went up over two dollars, which is very significant,” said Jacobs.
Most of these price increases are speculative, as oil companies try to prepare in case they stay shut down for several days. All travel and oil operations should return to normal once the storm passes. Any increase in gas prices should return back to normal within a week or two.