Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don: The Fourth Tropical Storm - - Heading towards the central Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Don churned into the central Gulf of Mexico
Storm watches were posted from the Texas-Mexico border north to Galveston Island as Tropical Storm Don moves through the Gulf of Mexico on track for landfall on the Texas coast late tomorrow.

Don, the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was 545 miles (877 kilometers) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, heading west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with maximum winds of 40 mph, according to a National Hurricane Center bulletin at 8 a.m. East Coast time today.

Maps posted on the center’s website show Don making landfall after 1 a.m. July 30 in the Corpus Christi area.

“Don should be at least a strong tropical storm at landfall,” AccuWeather Inc. meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said on the State College, Pennsylvania, forecaster’s website.

Storms are watched closely because they are a threat to oil and natural gas interests in the Gulf, home to 31 percent of U.S. oil output and coastal refineries account for 7.61 million barrels a day, or 42 percent of U.S. capacity.
Energy companies have begun pulling some workers from their facilities in the Gulf as a precaution. Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it’s evacuating about 70 non-essential workers, while Apache Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the two largest U.S. independent oil and gas producers by market value, said they are removing non-essential workers from some western Gulf operations.

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