Hurricane Ida aims for Gulf of Mexico oil fields

Hurricane Ida roared through the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, where important oil fields are located, after triggering floods and mudslides that killed 124 people in El Salvador.

Ida swept past the Mexican resort of Cancun, doing little damage to the city, and was expected to weaken gradually today as it heads toward some of the oil and gas production facilities in the central Gulf, the US National Hurricane Center said.



The storm reached hurricane force again late on Saturday and strengthened to a Category 2 storm yesterday with sustained winds of near 105 mph.



Some energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuating workers from offshore platforms and at least two large producers - BP Plc and Marathon Oil Corp - shut down some oil and gas production as a precautionary measure.



Other companies were preparing for possible shutdowns.



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 US oil and 15 per cent of its natural gas are produced from fields in the Gulf and the coast is home to 40 per cent 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.



Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on Sunday, allowing the government to mobilize troops and rescue workers.



If Ida makes landfall in Louisiana it would be the first storm to strike the state since Hurricane Gustav came ashore in September 2008.

In El Salvador, rivers burst their banks and hillsides collapsed under relentless rains triggered by Ida's passage, cutting off parts of the mountainous interior from the rest of the country.



El Salvador's government said 124 people were killed as mudslides and floods crushed homes and swept away rudimentary houses.



The bulk of the Central American country's coffee is grown in areas far from the worst affects of the flooding but the national coffee association had no estimate of potential damage to the harvest.



As of midnight GMT, Ida was 445 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi river, the hurricane center said. It was moving north-northwest near 12 mph and was forecast to turn toward the north over the next two days.



About 1,000 people were evacuated from Mexico's Holbox Island, an isolated fishing community and sanctuary for thousands of flamingos and other exotic birds located northwest of Cancun.



Ida first became a hurricane on Thursday off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, where heavy rains forced more than 5,000 people into shelters.



The country's coffee crop was not directly affected by the storm, according to the local coffee council.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Life and Style
Stepping back in time: The Robshaws endured the privations of the 1950s
food + drinkNew BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?