Could Irma have an economic effect on Acadiana?

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY ) – With all eyes on Hurricane Irma and Florida in the coming days, many are wondering if the storm’s impact will be felt across the country, including right here in Acadiana.

“Consumers see effects of hurricanes and disasters nationwide, and sometimes it’s more local than others. Sometimes it’s good effects and sometimes it’s not so good effects,” said Sharane Gott with the Better Business Bureau in Lafayette.

Gott says it’s unclear now if prices across the area for goods will increase, but she says consumers need to be alert in the coming weeks. For example, when buying a used car, make sure it hasn’t been damaged in a flood. She also warns to watch out for donation scams.

“The best thing to do is one, don’t be click happy or make decisions without thinking about it,” said Gott.

Across the nation, there was an increase at the pump in the days following Hurricane Harvey’s lanfall in Texas, after a number of oil refinieres closed. Gott says we could see a similar impact in Acadiana after Irma, but it’s not likely.

“It is about supply and demand, and there is no state of emergency here. So let’s say that a gasoline station down the street has a price that you feel is a bit inflated, go on down the street and look for another one,” she said.

According to a US News report, Barclays researchers estimated that a category 5 storm could generate up to $130 billion in insured damages. Gott says if supplies run out in Florida, there could be a chain reaction starting in states near Florida, heading toward Louisiana.

“They won’t have enough goods to take care of all consumers in that area. Of course we are going to be affected,” she said.

She says that everything revolves around supply and demand, but you do have a choice of where you spend your money. Just because the price may be inflated at one business, it may not be that way somewhere else. But this effect will not fully be measured until after, Irma hits Florida.

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