Hurricane Ida aims for Gulf of Mexico oil fields
Hurricane Ida roared toward the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, where important oil fields are located, after killing 91 people and leaving at least another 60 missing in floods and mudslides in El Salvador, Reuters reported.
Ida swept past the Mexican resort of Cancun and aimed for the Gulf of Mexico but is expected to weaken gradually as it heads toward some of the oil and gas production facilities in the central Gulf, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The storm reached hurricane force again late on Saturday and strengthened to a Category 2 storm on Sunday with sustained winds of near 100 mph, the Miami-based hurricane center said in its 4 p.m. EST advisory.
Some energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuating workers from offshore platforms, but so far oil and gas output had not been affected.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the only terminal in the United States capable of handling the largest tankers, said it would stop unloading ships due to stormy seas.
A quarter of U.S. oil and 15 percent of its natural gas are produced from fields in the Gulf and the coast is home to 40 percent of the nation's refining capacity.
The hurricane center set a hurricane watch from Grand Isle, Louisiana to Mexico Beach in northwestern Florida, but did not include the city of New Orleans. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are expected in the area within 36 hours.