The U.S. National Hurricane Center has warned that there is a high possibility a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico could become a tropical cyclone.
According to Reuters, the oil giant Shell yesterday evacuated non-essential personnel from its Gulf of Mexico installations.
“Shell has initiated efforts to reduce non-essential personnel on some offshore assets as a precautionary measure in addition to normal preparations for heavy weather,” Shell spokesman Ray Fisher told Reuters.
Another oil giant is also closely monitoring the disturbance. Through its Twitter account, BP said: “BP is closely monitoring disturbance in the Gulf to ensure the safety of our workers & operations in Gulf of Mexico.”
The National Hurricane Center has forecasted there is an 80 percent chance the disturbance will become a cyclone.
In its latest update dated Monday, June 15, the NHC said the surface observations and satellite data indicate that the broad area of low pressure over the south-central Gulf of Mexico has changed little over the past several hours. It said the system’s circulation is not well-defined, and the associated shower and thunderstorm activity remains disorganized.
According to the NHC, the low continues to produce tropical storm force winds well to the east and northeast of the center. Upper-level winds are forecast to gradually become more favorable while this system moves northwestward during the next day or two across the western Gulf of Mexico, and a tropical depression or tropical storm could form during that time. A Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system later this morning, the NHC said.
Possible flooding in TX & LA
The center has warned that interests in and along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico should monitor the progress of this system. Regardless of tropical cyclone formation, tropical storm conditions are possible along portions of the middle and upper Texas coast and the western Louisiana coast Monday night and Tuesday. There is also a risk of heavy rainfall and possible flooding across portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
Back in May, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season would likely be below-normal, “but that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.”