As of 1:00 pm local time winds were nearing 45 mph with higher gusts. The storm is heading is heading north at a speed of approximately 6 mph. Forecasters predict the storm will cross the Texas coastline this evening. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Port O'Connor, Texas to Cameron, Louisiana and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.
The Houston Ship Channel, which serves several refineries and chemical plants, closed Wednesday ahead of the storm and the Texas City port is only open to limited traffic.
News of the tropical storm caused natural gas futures to increase by more than 6%. According to Dow Jones Newswires, front-month October natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallied to a high of $6.47 a million British thermal units, gaining more than 8% in intraday floor trading.
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