Rising floodwaters along the Mississippi river threaten to engulf a number of oil refineries and hundreds of oil and gas wells in Louisiana, according to officials.
Prisoners have been drafted to make sandbags as communities prepare for a further inundation.
The water has swamped three million acres of farmland and sped past Memphis at speeds of 19 kilometres an hour as a result of melting snow and heavy rain.
One local resident says it brought back memories of the floods in 1973: “This amount of water I saw in ’73, and I thought I’d never see it again, and here it is again . And right now its higher than it was in ’73.”
The refineries under threat pump out 14 percent of the country’s refined gasoline capacity and prices are already beginning to climb.
It is the worst flood to hit the US in more than 70 years.