An unorganized and weak storm Alberto will pass Cuba's west on Saturday and invade the Gulf of Mexico, where he can fortify himself before leaving late Monday, National Hurricane, near the state border of Alabama-Mississippi Landet Center said:
The potential for the Gulf War by Alberto prompted Exxon Mobil Corp. to withdraw non-essential personnel from its Lena oil production platform and close Royal Dutch Shell Plc at its Ram Powell Hub. Most other energy companies leave offshore crews as they watch the first Atlantic storm of 201
Alberto formed days before the official launch of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season on June 1st. In the end, perhaps not wind and disruption of energy production, for which the storm is best known.
"The biggest threat to the country will be the rain and the flood," said Dan Pydynowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., State College, Pennsylvania. "We are already seeing the rain in Florida and he will continue to push north."
Tropical storm and tidal waves are currently running on the US Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida as Alberto, with top winds of 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour, moving north about 70 miles from the western tip of Cuba, the hurricane said Center in an 8 o'clock New York time consultation.
Flood and Flash Flood watches are scattered across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, where 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 centimeters) of rain could fall early next week, the US Weather Prediction Center [19659002WindshearhaspushedsomeoftheheaviestrainsjusteastofAlberto'scenterleavingFloridaatriskPydynowskisaidThereforethestormhasnotbeenstrongersinceFriday
"Everything will be east of the center," said Pydynowski. "West of the center there will be very little rain and wind."
Alberto was to escape the shear – a condition that arises when winds blow at different heights or speeds at different altitudes – from Saturday to Sunday. At the same time, it could draw power from warm waters in the Gulf, which could raise its peak winds to 65 mph on Monday before landing on land.
Gulf gales are being closely monitored because, according to the Energy Information Administration, 5 percent of US natural gas and 17 percent of crude oil production comes from the region. Onshore areas along the coast also account for about 45 percent of refining capacity in the US and 51 percent of gas processing.
Pydynowski said that if the storm remains at the center of his prediction or is shifted eastward gas platforms will be spared much trouble. However, for plants further to the west, these plants could be exposed to rough seas.
"Rain and wind will be minimal, but they will still have rough surf and waves that most of them can endure," says Pydynowski.
– With the support of Sheela Tobben, David Wethe and Amy Stillman