Hurricane season heats up with Harvey, Irene and another storm on the horizon

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is starting to heat up with three major storms on the radar for the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Depression Harvey has quickly traveled across the Gulf of Mexico, headed for the shores of Southern Mexico. The storm is currently packing sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, and it is expected to continue weakening as it heads across land.

Right on its tail, Hurricane Irene is currently located near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. With sustained winds currently at 75 miles an hour, the Category 1 hurricane is expected to strengthen over the next two days, turning northward as it heads toward Florida. 

The National Hurricane Center currently forecasts Hurricane Irene traveling on the east side of Florida, likely missing the Gulf of Mexico and its oil and gas installations, drilling rigs and pipelines.

Third on the line-up, another strong tropical depression has formed off the west coast of Africa and is traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The storm currently has a 10 percent chance of strengthening into a tropical cyclone as it moves through moderately warm waters at a rate of 10 to 15 miles per hour.

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be an active one with up to 18 named storms and six major hurricanes predicted.

With one storm forcing production shut-ins and offshore evacuations already this year, the petroleum industry stands ready to safely weather this year’s hurricane season.

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