24 August 2012 17:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--As Tropical Storm Isaac gathered strength in the Caribbean Sea on Friday, US fertilizer maker Mosaic was taking precautions to protect its phosphate fertilizer assets in Florida.
"Thankfully for our region, the track for Isaac continues to be pushed west, but Mosaic is still in preparation mode, though," said Russell Schweiss, Mosaic's spokesman in Florida.
Tropical Storm Isaac became stronger on Friday morning as it was moving west, reaching maximum sustained winds of 50 miles/hour (80 kilometres/hour), the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Isaac was about 175 miles southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The storm's centre will move over the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Friday and move near or over southeastern Cuba on Saturday, the NHC said.
"Mosaic prepares for hurricane season every year by reducing water inventories to provide extra capacity at our facilities," Schweiss said.
Mosaic operates phosphate fertilizer production facilities at eight locations in Florida.
"With the storm Isaac positioned where it is, we are now in the process of doing full inspections of our power infrastructure, topping off fuel supplies at the facilities and ensuring that each vehicle has a hurricane kit, which includes items for dealing with the elements during and after a major storm event," Schweiss said.
"We are also verifying water balances and plotting out contingency plans for a major rain event," he added.
"Our response is staged based upon threat and we are currently in condition #2, which is threat of a tropical system. Once a hurricane watch is posted for our area, there is a third layer of activities that take place," Schweiss said.
"If a hurricane warning is posted, we then move into condition #4, which contains an additional layer of activities," he said.
Chemical producers on the Gulf coast keep a close eye on weather patterns during the hurricane season, as severe weather can disrupt operations, although no hurricanes hit the area in 2011.
On Friday, Florida emergency workers were making preparations, as some forecasts said Isaac could strengthen and hit the Tampa Bay area of Florida as a hurricane on Monday.
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