Last Update 0:22
Wednesday, 26 June 2019

U.S. Gulf Coast prepares for tropical storm that killed 22

Reuters , Friday 6 Oct 2017
US
Members of the New Orleans Fire Department fill sandbags in preparation for Tropical Storm Nate in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., October 6, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1807
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1807

Oil and gas producers pulled staff from offshore platforms while Alabama, Florida and Mississippi declared states of emergency as Tropical Storm Nate twisted toward the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday after killing at least 22 people in Central America.

Nate is predicted to become a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest level on a five-category scale used by meteorologists, by the time it hits the U.S. central Gulf Coast on Saturday night or Sunday.

The storm had been heading toward Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, but its path changed Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, indicating that it would only skim popular tourist destinations such as Cancun.

Nate was blowing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (80 kmh) and was about 125 miles (200 km) southeast of the Mexican holiday resort island of Cozumel early on Friday afternoon, according to the NHC.

The storm is expected to brush by the edge of the Yucatan peninsula, home to beach resorts such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, before heading into the Gulf of Mexico, the NHC said.

In the United States, a state of emergency was declared for 29 Florida counties and the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as the city of New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The NHC has issued a hurricane watch from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.

On Friday afternoon, Nate was moving northwest at 21 miles per hour (34 kmh), a fast pace which if maintained would mean the storm did less damage when it hits land.

CENTRAL AMERICA DEATHS

The storm doused Central America with heavy rains on Thursday, killing at least 11 people in Nicaragua, eight in Costa Rica, two in Honduras and one in El Salvador, local authorities said.

Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes and Costa Rica's government declared a state of emergency, closing schools and all other non-essential services.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis declared three days of mourning and urged residents to remain vigilant through the weekend, noting rains would likely resume.

In Honduras, anxious residents wondered whether they would have to flee their homes. Norma Chavez and her two children anxiously watched a river rise outside their home in Tegucigalpa, the capital.

"We are worried that it will grow more and carry away the house," said Chavez, 45.

Nate is expected to produce six to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) of rain in parts of Honduras and Nicaragua, two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain in eastern Yucatan and western Cuba and three to six inches (8 to 15 inches) of rain in the U.S. central Gulf Coast.

About 71 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production and 53 percent of natural gas output is offline ahead of Nate's arrival, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Friday.

Oil companies have evacuated staff from 66 platforms and five drilling rigs, it said. Oil production equaling 1.24 million barrels of crude per day is offline, according to BSEE.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.