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US NOAA sees 60% chance of tropical system in Gulf by weekend

Washington — A tropical disturbance over the Caribbean has a 60% chance of forming into a tropical depression or stronger storm that moves into the US Gulf Coast, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.

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Tropical storms and hurricanes pose an annual threat to energy and shipping infrastructure along the US Gulf and Atlantic coasts. As the US becomes a larger oil and gas exporter, the storms pose new risks to global flows, on top of the usual risks to domestic US power demand and fuel supplies.

The disturbance has limited chance of development Wednesday or Thursday, NOAA said.

"However conditions are forecast to become a little more favorable for development over the weekend, and a tropical depression could form as the disturbance moves slowly toward the west-northwest across the Florida Straits or South Florida and over the eastern Gulf of Mexico," NOAA said at 8 am EDT.

Hurricane Dorian moved along the US Atlantic Coast last week, causing power outages for a quarter-million customers, shutting nuclear and LNG units, and triggering natural gas demand reductions.

Hurricane Barry is the only hurricane so far this season to make landfall on the US Gulf Coast, hitting central Louisiana on July 13. It shut a majority of offshore oil and gas platforms for several days, disrupted energy imports and exports, and caused power outages.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Alisdair Bowles, newsdesk@spglobal.com