UPDATE: Storm Warning in Effect Due to Tropical Storm Andrea
Oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico said Thursday that they're keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Andrea but they haven't curtailed production as the storm makes its way toward Florida and the U.S. east coast, away from offshore oil and gas operations.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning Thursday from Florida to North Carolina coasts due to Tropical Storm Andrea. The storm, which is heading toward Florida from the northeastern U.S. Gulf of Mexico, is the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, which officially began Saturday.
The NHC said the storm, currently located in the northeastern Gulf, will likely reach northern Florida sometime Thursday and will then race northeastward along the U.S. East Coast through Saturday. Windspeeds as high as 60 miles per hour have been observed, but the agency said it expects the storm to weaken somewhat as it moves inland.
BP PLC said Thursday afternoon that operations are normal at all of its offshore facilities, but added that it is prepared to respond if conditions change.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Apache Corp. also said they are monitoring the storm's progress. ConocoPhillips said it doesn't expect the storm to impact operations if it continues on its current path.
The storm warning is in effect for the west coast of Florida from Boca Grande to Indian Pass, and on the east coast from Flagler Beach, Fla., to Cape Charles Light, Va. It is also in effect for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and the Lower Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
Forecasters have predicted that this year's storm season, which lasts until Nov. 30, will be more active than usual. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is forecasting that this year's storm system will be "active or extremely active," with a 70% likelihood of seeing 13 to 20 named storms, seven to 11 of which could become hurricanes. NOAA said the ranges forecast are "well above" the seasonal average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
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