Northeast US petchem industry keeps wary eye on Hurricane Sandy

26 October 2012 18:24  [Source: ICIS news]

Hurricane SandyHOUSTON (ICIS)--The US petrochemical industry was on alert pm Friday as it monitored Hurricane Sandy, which was expected to hit the mid-Atlantic or northeast coast early next week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Friday there is a 90% chance the storm will make landfall in four or five days, with much broader impact than Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm along the eastern coastline in August 2011.

Though it is too early to narrow the track between the Carolinas and southern New England, the landfall area may see 5-10 inches (32-65 cm) of rain, causing potential flooding, said Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The state of West Virginia may experience a foot of snow with the cold front moving to the east.

NOAA is not providing numbers but said the large size of the system and the slow motion will cause “pretty significant surge and widespread winds".

Irene paralleled the US east coast, while Sandy has a perpendicular track toward the coastline, said James Franklin, branch chief of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

In addition, NOAA is seeing at least three “blocking mechanisms” causing the storm to move in an east-west direction. With the slow movement, the storm will last several days, and the full moon early next week will affect tides.

The Chemistry Council of New Jersey (CCNJ) said the chemical industry is keeping an eye on the storm, and the companies have emergency protocols in place should the storm hit the area.

The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center is on Level 2 alert, prepared for the state to communicate with the private sectors about power, utilities, transportation and other operations, the CCNJ said.

For other companies that may be affected by the hurricane, see ICIS Plants & Projects

By: Tracy Dang
+1 713 525 2653

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