Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don Threatens the Gulf as Its Strength Intensifies

Tropical Storm Don has not changed during the past several hours, heading west-northwest toward the coast of Texas.

TS Don is currently located about 635 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and about 590 miles east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said a tropical storm warning for the coast of Texas has been extended southward to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The center of TS Don expects to move through the Southern and Central Gulf of Mexico later Thursday and approach the Texas coast on Friday.

Don, which currently has sustained winds near 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) with higher gusts, is expected to pack maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in the next 48 hours and poses a major threat to the Gulf, home to thousands of oil and gas production platforms, producing about 29 percent of U.S. oil output and more than 10 percent of domestically produced natural gas.

The U.S. government's weather agency has forecast an "above normal" 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, spawning six to 10 hurricanes of which around half could become major.

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