Tropical Storm Alberto floods beaches amid storm surge, high tide, but plant ops unaffected so far

Adam Yanelli


HOUSTON (ICIS)–Tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, continues to push toward the Mexico coast and a combination of storm surge and high tides are already flooding some Texas coastal communities.

But so far, ICIS has not heard of any instances of plants located along the US Gulf Coast ceasing operations.

Alberto was about 295 miles (475 km) south southeast of Brownsville as of 18:00 GMT with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles/hour, as shown in the following image.

Source: National Hurricane Center

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Texas coast from San Luis Pass southward to the mouth of the Rio Grande River.

Tropical storm warnings mean that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

The highest rainfall totals on Wednesday were just more than an inch south of Houston, with a total of 1.36 inches in La Porte, Texas, and 1.23 inches in Galveston.

Storm chasers shared videos of inundated coastal communities on social media, including Surfside Beach, that were created by the storm surge ahead of Alberto and coinciding with high tides.

Tides will be at the lowest this evening and at the highest early on Thursday morning, as shown in the following chart.


Alberto is moving toward the west at 9 miles/hour.

A westward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through Thursday.

The center of Alberto is forecast to reach the coast of northeastern Mexico early Thursday morning, as shown in the following map.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Some slight strengthening is forecast today or tonight before the center of Alberto reaches land.

Rapid weakening is expected once the center moves inland, and Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico Thursday or Thursday night.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for south and central Texas, as shown in the following map.

Source: National Hurricane Center

So far it does not appear that offshore oil and gas operations are being impacted.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) provides daily updates when storms lead to the evacuation of offshore production platforms.

There was no update on Wednesday from BSEE.

Production platforms are the offshore structures from which oil and natural gas are produced.

Unlike drilling rigs, which can be moved, production facilities remain in the same location throughout a project’s duration.

Another disturbance in the southwest Atlantic has a 20% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, and only a 20% chance of formation in the next seven days.

There is likely to be increased focus on US Gulf petchem production this summer as the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting the greatest number of hurricanes in the agency’s history.

NOAA forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center said that the hurricane season – which started on 1 June and runs through 30 November – has an 85% chance to be above normal, a 10% chance of being near normal and only a 5% chance of being below normal.

The prediction of 17-25 named storms is the highest ever, topping the 14-23 predicted in 2010.

A storm is named once it has sustained winds of 39 miles/hour.

Damage from hurricanes can lead to increased demand for chemicals, but hurricanes and tropical storms can also disrupt the North American petrochemical industry because many of the nation’s plants and refineries are along the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana.

In 2022, oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico accounted for about 15% of total US crude oil production and about 2% of total US dry natural gas production, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies often evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution.

Thumbnail image shows a map with Tropical Storm Alberto approaching the Mexico coast. Source: NHC


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