Friday, October 4, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen prepares to soak US Gulf Coast

Jane Sutton in Reuters: Tropical Storm Karen churned through the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, disrupting U.S. energy output on its way to drenching the coast from Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Energy companies in the Gulf shut down production and evacuated workers from offshore platforms as the storm approached a region that produces nearly a fifth of daily U.S. oil output.

Oil prices have been dropping amid concerns that a prolonged U.S. government shutdown would hurt demand, but the losses were limited as the storm in the Gulf curbed supply. Brent futures fell below $109 a barrel, then edged back up above that mark on Friday.

The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida declared states of emergency to speed storm preparations, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recalled some furloughed workers to assist.

Karen weakened slightly overnight and had top winds of 60 miles per hour on Friday morning. It was centered about 275 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving north-northwest. The storm was expected to turn north and then northeast, hitting the coast on Saturday, forecasters at the Miami-based hurricane center said....

Tropical Storm Karen on October 3, 2013, via NOAA

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