Tropical Storm Karl was set to move into the Gulf of Mexico early yesterday and could reach hurricane strength, potentially threatening major Mexican oil installations.
Mexican state-run oil giant Pemex had not curtailed any operations, but said it would monitor Karl’s progress as it approached operations in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf, where the bulk of Mexico’s 2.55 million barrels per day of oil is produced.
“Karl is about to move over the Bay of Campeche and is forecast to strengthen,” the US National Hurricane Center said.
Karl earlier lost strength as it moved inland and had maximum sustained winds of 65kph at 10pm local time.
By nighttime on Wednesday, it was 60km south-southwest of Campeche on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula.
Karl is likely to regain strength as it crosses the southern Gulf of Mexico before making landfall again tomorrow near the Mexican port of Tuxpan, where Pemex unloads much of the gasoline it imports.
“Karl could become a hurricane by Friday,” the center said.
Two hurricanes, Igor and Julia, also raced across the Atlantic Ocean, but posed no threat to land or energy interests and are projected to eventually die out far from land.
This year’s hurricane season has been more active than average, with 11 named storms so far, including four major hurricanes.
The rapid early strengthening of many storms this year near the coast of Africa has pushed them on northwest tracks away from vulnerable areas. However, with two months left in the hurricane season, it is too early to say there will not be another dangerous storm, hurricane expert Rick Knabb with The Weather Channel told reporters.