UpdateHurricane Sandy strengthens, to hit east coast 29 Oct night

29 October 2012 09:45  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates lead with recasts throughout)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Hurricane Sandy has strengthened and is expected to bring a “life-threatening” storm surge and coastal hurricane winds as its strikes the US east coast later on Monday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Monday.

At 05:00 hours New York time (09:00 GMT), the eye of the hurricane was about 385 miles southeast of New York City and the storm was packing winds of 85 miles/hour, the NHC said.

“The center of Sandy will move over the coast of the mid-Atlantic states this evening or tonight,” it said.

Gale force winds are already occurring over the portions of the mid-Atlantic states from North Carolina northward to Long Island, the NHC said.

These winds are expected to continue to spread over to New York City and southern New England later on Monday morning, while hurricane force winds could reach New York City and Long Island later on Monday, it added.

The US chemical industry has been on alert and preparing for the arrival of Sandy.

US refiner Phillips 66 said over the weekend that it has begun shutting its 238,000 bbl/day refinery in Linden, New Jersey, ahead of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.

“We expect the refinery to be completely shut down by early Monday morning,” the company said in its latest update posted on its website on 28 October.

Three other refineries along the US east coast have cut their operating rates in anticipation of Sandy, a Reuters report said without specifying the facilities affected.

Meanwhile, both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will be shut on 29 October and possibly 30 October because of the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy, its operator NYSE Euronext (NYX) said in a statement.

The White House in a statement on 28 October said that the high winds, heavy rains, storm surge and snow expected from Sandy could produce widespread power outages.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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