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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us