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“Extremely Dangerous” – Hurricane Ida Almost Category 5 Strength As It Nears Louisiana

“Extremely Dangerous” – Hurricane Ida Almost Category 5 Strength As It Nears Louisiana

Hurricane Ida has rapidly strengthened into a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 MPH, just seven mph shy of a Category 5. The storm is set to strike Louisiana later this afternoon/evening, and on the same day, 16 years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck the area. 

As of 0600 ET, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plane flew into the storm and found Ida is an “extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall in southeastern Louisiana later today.” 

Reports from an NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. The latest minimum central pressure estimated from reconnaissance aircraft data is 935 mb (27.61 in).

An elevated NOAA C-MAN station at Pilot’s Station East near Southwest Pass, Louisiana, recently reported a sustained wind of 82 mph (131 km/h) and a gust to 107 mph (172 km/h). Another NOAA elevated C-MAN station at Southwest Pass recently reported a sustained wind of 77 mph (124 km/h) and a wind gust of 93 mph (150 km/h).

Ida is currently over the Gulf of Mexico where it could strengthen even more before making landfall around 1800 ET. 

A Hurricane Warning has been posted for Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Pearl River, Mississippi.

Storm surges could be significant across Louisiana and Mississippi. For instance, a 10-foot to 15-foot storm surge is forecasted from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. A storm surge of 5-8 feet is possible for Lake Pontchartrain. 

The Weather Prediction Center warns Southeast Louisiana could expect up to 8-16 inches of rain.

Metropolitan New Orleans is expected to get swamped by the hurricane and has prompted residents to evacuate or shelter in place. Bloomberg says, “the levee gates will close in many areas, hospital wards in the region are being cleared out, oil refineries and offshore production are shutting down, and thousands of residents are fleeing for their lives.” 

The menacing hurricane “could damage close to 1 million homes along the U.S. Gulf Coast” and cause upwards of “$220 billion,” CoreLogic report said Saturday. 

The property and data analytics firm is worried that a dangerous storm surge could hit 941,392 properties in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Finally, as Mike Shedlock notes, oil production is going to face serious disruptions:

  • Ida’s projected path has made it a threat to the vast oil refining and petrochemical complex situated along the U.S. Gulf Coast, though the storm’s more easterly track Friday suggested it would miss the heart of those operations in Texas and along the Texas-Louisiana border.

  • Refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi had started to reduce or halt output, which will lead to some gasoline-delivery delays.
  • Projections have Ida sweeping through the bulk of U.S. offshore oil production, located south and southeast of Louisiana, said Andy Lipow, president of Houston-based consulting firm Lipow Oil Associates. He expects as much as 90% of offshore oil output to close ahead of the storm.

  • “Hurricane Ida is showing up probably in the worst possible location for oil production,” Mr. Lipow said.

Here’s a list, courtesy of Bloomberg, of all major oil and gas production sites shuttered and their capacity in barrels per day.

  • BP Plc
    • Atlantis, 200,000 b/d
    • Mad Dog, 100,000 b/d
    • Na Kika, 130,000 b/d
    • Thunder Horse, 250,000 b/d
  • Royal Dutch Shell Plc
    • Turritella (including Stones field) 50,000 boe/d (at peak), Stones field working to resume partial production
    • Mars, 60,000 boe/d
    • Olympus, 100,000 boe/d
    • Appomattox, 175,000 boe/d
    • Ursa, 150,000 boe/d
    • Auger, 130,000 boe/d
    • Enchilada/Salsa, capacity not specified
  • Equinor SA
    • Titan, 2,000 boe/d (producing rate in the second quarter)
  • BHP Group
    • Shenzi, 100,000 b/d and 50 mmcf/d gas
  • Murphy Oil Corp.
    • Shutting in production, up to 4,100 boe/d
  • Chevron Corp.
    • Shutting all oil and natural gas platforms; volume not specified
      • Average net daily production in 2018 was 186,000 barrels of crude, 105 million cubic feet of natural gas and 13,000 barrels of NGLs: website
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. began evacuating personnel from its Hoover platform; minimal impact on production

Ports:

  • Coast Guard sets condition Zulu for New Orleans
  • LOOP paused deliveries until after storm

Refineries: 

  • Phillips 66’s 255k b/d Alliance began idling units Friday
  • PBF is reducing rates at 190k b/d Chalmette
  • Shell began shutting 230k b/d Norco
  • Marathon is shutting production at 578k b/d Garyville
  • Valero is idling production units at 125k b/d Meraux
  • ExxonMobil’s 520k b/d Baton Rouge is running at ~50% capacity ahead of Ida

Expect higher gas prices and energy outages especially in the impacted regions.

Here’s a live feed of the New Orleans skyline. 

As the storm makes landfall this afternoon/evening, we will provide updates as needed. 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/29/2021 – 09:55

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