Friday, September 17, 2010

Hurricane Karl forms in Gulf of Mexico

A hurricane warning was issued Thursday for Mexico's coast from Palma Sola to Cabo Rojo.
Karl has become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico after dumping heavy rains on the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm.  A hurricane warning was issued Thursday for Mexico's coast from Palma Sola to Cabo Rojo. Also, a tropical storm warning has been issued for the coast for north of Cabo Rojo to La Cruz and for the area south of Palma Sola to Veracruz. Karl's maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph (120 kph). The National Hurricane Center in Miami says additional strengthening is possible and Karl could approach major hurricane strength before reaching Mexico's coast. Karl is located about 310 miles (500 kilometers) east-southeast of Tuxpan, Mexico, and is moving west near 12 mph (19 kph). Tropical Storm Karl had re-entered the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened again Thursday after dumping heavy rains on the Yucatan Peninsula, threatening to build into a Category 2 hurricane and hit near a port and an oil hub on the Mexican Gulf coast. Karl could make landfall by late Friday with winds of as much as 100 mph (160 kph) near the oil hub of Poza Rica, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

The storm had weakened as it moved over the Yucatan, downing tree limbs and causing power outages, but once over the Gulf water its winds built back up to about 65 mph (100 kph), and it was expected to quickly reach hurricane strength. By early Thursday, Karl was about 110 miles (180 kms) off the Yucatan peninsula, about 350 miles (560 kms) east of Tuxpan. But it was heading west at a rapid clip of about 9 mph (15 kph). Poza Rica, while slightly inland, houses important pipelines, and gas and oil-processing plants operated by the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. The company said it had no immediate plans to halt production at the plants because of the oncoming storm. Tuxpan is an old port city of about 135,000 located on a river near the coast.


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