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Hurricane Idalia sets sights on Florida’s Gulf coast

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Picture of Cyann Fielding

Cyann Fielding

Journalist at Tank Storage Magazine.
Image from NASA

Hurricane Idalia is heading toward Florida’s Gulf coast, posing a threat to life as the storm surges, with landfall expected on Wednesday.

‘Rapid intensification is expected before landfall, and Idalia is forecast to be a major hurricane’ when it reaches the coast, the National Hurricane Center says.

Idalia was last about 275 miles southwest of Tampa, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Chevron evacuated non-essential workers from its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. It has also evacuated all staff at the Genesis platform, which is being decommissioned. Production at Chevron-operated assets in the region remains at normal levels.

In addition, Kinder Morgan has shut its Port Manatee, Port Sutton and Tampaplex terminals, which handle commodities such as fertilisers, scrap metal, pet coke and coal.

It was also planned that its Tampa refined products terminal and its Central Florida Pipeline System later in the day.

Kinder Morgan’s Central Florida Pipeline (CFPL) system consists of a 110 mile, 16 inch diameter petroleum pipeline transporting gasoline and batched denatured ethanol, and an 85 mile, 10 inch diameter petroleum line that moves diesel and jet fuel.

‘Our Orlando refined products facility remains operational at this time, but we are closely monitoring the storm’s progress to prepare for any impacts,’ Kinder Morgan says.

Also, Florida ports from Tampa to Fort Myers are closed after the US Coast Guard set them at condition Zulu, meaning sustained gale force winds (39-54 mph) are expected within 12 hours as of 10am ET Tuesday.

In the Florida panhandle, the ports of St Joe and Panama City were set at condition Yankee, meaning sustained gale force winds are forecast within 24 hours as of late Monday. On the Atlantic coast, the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick also were set at condition Yankee as of Tuesday morning.

When port condition Yankee is set, cargo operations are terminated, with exceptions for truck operations or onshore container movement. All oceangoing commercial vessels greater than 500 tonnes are required to depart.

The Florida port of Jacksonville was still set at port condition X-Ray, meaning gale force winds are expected within 48 hours, as of 10:30am ET Tuesday.

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