A second system gathering strength south of Jamaica may threaten Gulf energy production and Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane later this week even as Tropical Storm Gamma skirts the northern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
The storm, which will be named Delta as its strengthens, could pose a threat to offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and perhaps could end up striking Louisiana if its track holds, said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist with the Energy Weather Group. It was south of Jamaica late Sunday, where it has sparked storm warnings on the Cayman Islands and a hurricane watch on Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
"This storm could explode over the Gulf and present a growing, perhaps serious, late season threat to Gulf energy production," Rouiller said. "On-shore refineries to shipping along with rigs and platforms across the upper Gulf region from Louisiana to Florida need to watch this one."
Across the Atlantic, 24 storms have formed so far, the fastest that tally has ever been reached in records going back to 1851, and the second most number of storms ever to spin out of the ocean. In 2005, a record 28 storms formed including Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 and caused New Orleans to flood.
The National Hurricane Center has used up all the names on its official list and has begun designating systems with Greek letters. Nine storms have hit the U.S. in 2020, including Hurricane Isaias, which knocked out power to millions in the Northeast, and Hurricane Laura, which devastated Louisiana in August.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gamma is sliding southwest along the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula bring flooding rains and potential for mudslides across the region.
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