Hurricane Delta Shuts In Majority of GOM Oil Output

Hurricane Delta Shuts In Majority of GOM Oil Output
Delta is forecast to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday as a Category 2 hurricane.

(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Delta is poised to lose strength before coming ashore in Louisiana, but is still expected to bring powerful winds and a dangerous storm surge to an area of the U.S. Gulf Coast recovering from Hurricane Laura.

Delta is forecast to make landfall on Friday as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 miles (169 kilometers) per hour, much weaker than the ferocious blast Laura unleashed with its winds of 150 mph. But Delta will still bring flooding rains and a storm surge that could reach as high as 11 feet in some places. Its worst impacts will likely be to the east of where Laura hit in late August.

Delta is adding to the havoc caused by a string of deadly natural disasters in 2020, a year that has been marked by a hyperactive hurricane season, devastating wildfires and a derecho that wreaked havoc across the U.S. Midwest. They’re further evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing, bringing hotter temperatures, stronger storms and more widespread destruction.

There will be some worrisome moments before landfall on Friday, because Delta is forecast to grow into a major Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph as it crosses the energy-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico. That burst of power could start to fade as Delta encounters cooler water in the northern Gulf. About 80% of oil production and 49% of gas output in the Gulf was shut as of Wednesday.

One cautionary point is that Delta’s physical size could swell as it comes north, which would increase the reach of its winds, destructive storm surge and heavy rains, U.S. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in a Facebook live post.

It will be the record 10th tropical storm or hurricane to hit the U.S. in a year. The Atlantic has spawned 25 storms this year, the second most after 2005, when deadly Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans. So many have formed that the hurricane center has used up all the names on its official list and has resorted to the Greek alphabet to designate systems.

Delta will likely make landfall between Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana, said Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for the Weather Company, an IBM business. That would be just east of where Hurricane Laura came ashore in August as the strongest storm to hit that area since 1856.

Delta will probably cause about $3 billion in losses and destruction to Louisiana, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research. If the storm weakens to a Category 1 hurricane before landfall, however, it may cause $1 billion in losses, he said.

All time stamps are Eastern Standard.

Key Developments:

  • CFE Says Power Restored to 90% of Customers Affected by Delta
  • Cancun Airport Has Reestablished Operations after Hurricane (1)
  • Cameron LNG Export Terminal Shuts Down Ahead of Delta (1)
  • New Orleans Port Closed to Inbound Traffic For Hurricane: Moran
  • Hurricane Delta Storm Surge Threatens 294,000 Homes: CoreLogic

Hurricane Warnings Extended as Delta Plies Gulf (11 a.m.)

Delta’s top winds grew to 105 miles per hour as it churned in the Gulf about 400 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

Storm surge and hurricane warnings have been extended along the coast to include Sabine Pass and High Island, Texas. Tropical-storm-strength winds of at least 39 mph will begin to reach the Gulf Coast early Friday.

“Significant flash flooding and minor to moderate river flooding are likely in parts of Louisiana Friday and Saturday, with additional flooding in portions of the central Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley” the center said.

CFE Says Power Restored to 90% of Customers (10:29 a.m.)

Power was restored to 90% of customers who experienced outages due to Delta in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Mexican utility Comision Federal de Electricidad says in a statement.

CFE said 44,023 users remain without power but are located in flooded areas that can only be accessed when Civil Protection authorities grant permission.

Cancun Airport Has Reestablished Operations (10:16 a.m.)

Cancun’s airport has fully reestablished services after Delta hit the region, Laura Velazquez Alzua, national civil protection coordinator, said Thursday.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at the same press conference that damage to the area was minor, and no deaths were reported.

Cameron LNG Export Terminal Shuts Down (10:07 a.m.)

Sempra Energy’s Cameron liquefied natural gas terminal has implemented a controlled shutdown as Delta approaches the Louisiana coast, a plant spokeswoman said in emailed statement. A ride-out team will remain at the plant until Delta passes.

Cameron restarted LNG production on Tuesday for first time after shutting for Hurricane Laura in late August.

New Orleans Port Closed to Inbound Traffic (9:27 a.m.)

The head of New Orleans port has set condition Yankee ahead of Delta, meaning gale-force winds are expected within 24 hours and the port is closed to inbound traffic, according to a note from Moran Shipping.

Storm Surge From Delta Threatens 294,000 Homes (8:17 a.m.)

About 294,000 homes across the U.S. Gulf Coast with a reconstruction cost value of $62.9 billion are at potential risk of storm surge damage from Delta, CoreLogic said. The estimate is based on the hurricane center forecast at 5 p.m. New York time on Oct. 7.

--With assistance from Christine Buurma, Sheela Tobben, Erin McClam, Jeffrey Bair, Sergio Chapa, Lorena Rios and Andrea Navarro.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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