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You are here: > News > Sept. 20, 2005

Rita Headed for Houston -- Could Take Out Key Remaining Refineries

The biggest remaining part of our oil refineries, and of offshore and near-shore recovery of oil and gas, is now in the bull’s eye. This could take the USA well below the capacity of the EU and others to even ship us supplies.

    "Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the US mainland" (Ref; Sept. 22)

by Paul Noel
Pure Energy Systems News - Exclusive
Copyright © 2005

Predicted hurricane path.  Source: BBC

Hurricane Rita getting stronger and may hit Texas by weekend
Image from Sept. 20, 2005
Hurricane Rita getting stronger and may hit Texas by weekend.

Houston, Texas area with Salt Intrusions marked with a red outline. These are due to land subsiding because of Oil and Gas Extraction. Note that large areas of fields are now bare, with only sand visible. Projected strike point for Rita is near text at bottom of image. (Lines drawn by Paul Noel.)

Acknowledgement for satellite photo: Google maps

HOUSTON, TX, USA -- Hurricane Rita is now forecast to become a Category 4 storm in 24 hours and to fill the entire Gulf of Mexico. (WARNING this is will look like a rerun!)

Hurricane Rita is now forecast (all such things have a margin of error until they happen) to make landfall about 60 to 70 miles south of the Houston Ship Channel along the coast of Texas. The heat pictures of the Gulf of Mexico indicate it will be passing over water that is 30 to 32 degrees C over its entire base. Therefore, it is forecast to be a Cat 4 on landing. (I would bet on Cat 5 with pretty good odds right now.)

[Update.  As of Wednesday morning, the hurricane is already upgraded to a category 4, and it still has the remainder of the gulf to pass over to pick up more power yet.]

I have been watching this area since before Katrina.

If it moves as projected, it will bring a massive storm surge into a large area that is at or below sea level. This area has sunk some 12 to 20 feet due to the withdrawal of oil from the area from the 1930’s to the present. The sinking has been so profound that salt intrusion into the ground water is taking place over a very wide area and killing the plant life. The salt intrusion has been influenced by freshwater withdrawals in the area as well.

So here we go again.

Houston is a city protected in part by dikes. It is not as far below sea level as New Orleans, but still at risk.

New Orleans is now in the 30% to 40% zone for taking tropical storm conditions. This will bring with it a storm surge. (I can only hazard a guess as to how high.) This storm surge is probably going to swamp New Orleans again. The dikes are breached and, though some quick repairs have been done, the city has no reliable flood protection now.

Heads up on the oil patch. The biggest remaining part of our oil refineries and offshore and near-shore recovery of oil and gas is now in the bull’s eye of this storm’s target area. This could take the USA well below the capacity of the EU and others to even ship us supplies. We are currently taking 7 million barrels of gasoline a day from the EU stocks, and additional oil and gas from Canada’s reserves.

Whether or not this storm materializes as it now appears it could, the scenario provides a good reason to go for alternative energy.

# # #

Supporting Material

click for enlargement

NOAA Sea Surface Temperatures: Sept. 21, 2005: 03:44 GMT

  • Global Warming > Hurricanes Are Getting Stronger - The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has nearly doubled over the past 35 years, even though the total number of hurricanes has dropped since the 1990s. The shift has occurred as global sea surface temperatures have increased over the same period. (PESN; Sept. 17, 2005)
  • Galveston Officials Plan To Declare A State Of Emergency - Galveston County officials plan to declare a State of Emergency this evening. That will pave the way for the mandatory evacuation of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday, with a mandatory evacuation of the general population beginning at 6 p.m. (KTRH, Sept. 20)
  • - "Hurricane Rita is now the third most intense hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin." (Sept. 21; 10:05 pm mdt)
  • Google News > Rita Houston (as of Sept. 20, 5:30 pm mdt and on into Sept. 23, 8:30 am mdt)
    • Rita set to slam into oil rig central
      National Business Review, New Zealand - 40 minutes ago (Sept. 23)
      Hurricane Rita continues its advance on the Texas coast, making ready to slam with catastrophic force into one of the densest concentration of oil rigs ...
    • Rita shuts 2.2 mln bpd of gasoline output
      Reuters - 1 hour ago (Sept. 23)
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The amount of US petroleum product production offline due to refineries shut down because of approaching Hurricane Rita total about 2.2 ...
    • Hurricane Rita becomes a 165-mph monster; 1.3 m evacuated
      Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates - 32 minutes ago (Sept. 22)
      GALVESTON, Texas - Gaining strength with frightening speed, Hurricane Rita swirled toward the Gulf Coast a Category 5, 165-mph (265.5-kph) monster as more than ...
    • Oil industry wary of Rita
      Austin American-Statesman (subscription), TX - 53 minutes ago (Sept. 22)
      ... of Mexico is home to about a quarter of the country's oil and natural gas production, with Houston hosting the key refining center. Hurricane Rita could hurt ...
    • Rita a substantial threat to Gulf oil-EIA, UK - 6 hours ago
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hurricane Rita could have a "substantial impact" on US Gulf Coast refineries, a situation that the nation's already tight gasoline ...
    • Oil prices jump as Hurricane Rita nears Texas coast
      Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN - 1 hour ago
      NEW YORK -- Crude oil prices rose Wednesday as traders braced for the possibility that Hurricane Rita could smash into key oil facilities in Texas. ...
    • Rita, Now Category 4, Heads for Gulf Coast
      In-Forum (subscription), ND - 6 minutes ago
      ... Houston is about 50 miles northwest of Galveston, but the area includes low-lying ... Crude oil prices rose again on concern that Rita would smash into key oil ...
    • Offer by OPEC fails to calm oil markets
      International Herald Tribune, France - 1 hour ago
      ... Rita was upgraded on Wednesday to a Category 4 storm, with winds of at ... the homeland security coordinator for Harris County, Texas, where Houston, an important ...
    • Texas-bound Rita strengthens into Category 2 hurricane
      Malaysia Star, Malaysia - 9 hours ago
      ... would make landfall about 100 miles southwest of Houston, where much of the state's oil and natural gas facilities are located. The center of Rita was located ...
    • Houston-area refineries say they're prepared
      Houston Chronicle, United States - 8 hours ago
      ... Orleans was bad news for the nation's energy industry. If Hurricane Rita makes a similar visit to Houston it could be even worse. ...
    • US refineries braced for another hit from Rita
      Financial Times, UK - 19 hours ago
      By Sheila McNulty in Houston. The US energy industry braced itself on Tuesday for another blow as Hurricane Rita swept towards the oil and gas production centre ...
    • On Move Again, Katrina Evacuees Flee Rita
      Newsday, NY - 2 hours ago
      ... in Houston's two largest shelters, Reliant Arena and the George R. Brown Convention Center, began making their way to Fort Chaffee, Ark., as Hurricane Rita ...
    • Air mass holds key to Rita’s direction
      Brazosport Facts (subscription), TX - 19 hours ago
      At 5 pm Monday, the National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast projected that Rita’s eye could pass just west of Houston about 2 pm Saturday, after ...
    • Florida residents prepare for Rita
      Ireland Online, Ireland - 4 hours ago
      ... some 40 miles south-east of Houston, said residents should begin leaving today. Officials said a mandatory evacuation could be ordered if Rita strengthens into ...
    • US refineries braced for another hit from Rita
      Financial Times, UK - 3 hours ago
      By Sheila McNulty in Houston. The US energy industry braced itself on Tuesday for another blow as Hurricane Rita swept towards the oil and gas production centre ...
    • Hurricane Rita becomes stronger - could soon be Category 3
      CBC News, Canada - 5 hours ago
      ... helping with recovery from Hurricane Katrina to prepare for Rita. Authorities stressed that those fleeing the coastal area should bypass Houston, which could ...
    • Rita Roundup
      Lone Star Times, TX - 2 hours ago
      Every Galveston-Houston area resident should have an emergency evacuation plan (including pets!) and we should also make sure our family and neighbors who are ...
    • City officials prepare for storm's arrival
      KHOU (subscription), TX - 21 minutes ago
      By Doug Miller / 11 News. Houston and Harris County officials started making preparations Tuesday afternoon in the event Hurricane Rita hits Houston. ...
    • Mayor says Houston ready for Hurricane Rita, citizens must prepare
      Houston Business Journal, TX - 2 hours ago
      "We have a plan and are working through it," said Mayor Bill White. "Houston is the best prepared city in the country. But there ...
    • Hurricane Rita Threatens Texas, Affects Katrina Shelters
      Red Cross - 2 hours ago
      ... At this point Rita’s final destination is unknown, but the path is heading for ... and are urging people not to seek shelter in already crowded Houston and head ...
    • Oil companies start evacuating
      Finance24, South Africa - 8 hours ago
      ... The centre has shifted its forecast path for Rita northward and now shows the storm heading toward Houston and running near producing areas in the western Gulf ...
    • Texas Prepares For Possibility Of Hurricane
      KWTX, TX - 22 hours ago
      ... Galveston, which is 60 miles southeast of Houston, was wiped out 105 years ago this month ... of the Texas coast prepare to move out in advance of Rita’s arrival ...

Related Stories by Paul Noel

Katrina coming in

See also

Page posted by Sterling D. Allan Sept. 20, 2005
Last updated December 24, 2014





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