Hurricane Gustav marched in with a lot of hype and much-warranted trepidation, but the city of New Orleans appears to have dodged a major bullet with the true impact of the storm.

However, anecdotal evidence and wet reporters aside, it will take quite a while for the true financial impact of the storm to be determined. But some people have found a new, quicker way to track this data — with Woot.com, the popular daily gadget deal site.

What exactly does Woot.com have to do with the economic impact in Louisiana? Editor Ben Popken from The Consumerist explains:

“As part of the forums area, the site throws out various data, like how many units did people buy, percentage of sales per hour, and a Woots per capita map. The map clearly shows that basically no one in Louisiana is buying jack from Woot right now, and, no doubt, from any else. How will we know when people have returned to Louisiana and are buying again? By watching the delta on the Woots per capita map!”

So as you can see from the first map compared to the second map, there’s not a lot of activity going on in Louisiana right now, probably because people are too busy evacuating and not spending enough time shopping for cool new gadgets (the ultimate non-essential luxury purchase, compared to fresh water, food, and emergency supplies).

But what’s the explanation for Alaska’s continued lack of regard for Woots? Probably has something to do with Sarah Palin, I bet.

Could this become the new economic indicator of choice? Maybe it could even replace the currency comparison rates that the Big Mac Index provides?

Consumerist: Quickest Measure Of Gustav’s Negative Economic Impact: Woots Per Capita, Sept 3, 2008