US prepared for hurricanes?

Hurricane Michael made landfall on Florida's coast yesterday.

Democracy Now

Hurricane Michael Kills 13 in Central America, Approaches U.S. Coast

In Central America, at least 13 people have died after torrential downpours from Hurricane Michael hit Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, causing major flooding and landslides.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday, with Florida Governor Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency in 35 counties and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declaring a state of emergency for the whole state. This is Governor Rick Scott.

Gov. Rick Scott: “Storm surge, rain, floods—we can see tornadoes. So, you’ve got to follow the weather. You’ve got to listen. When they say to evacuate, you have got to evacuate. And don’t wait 'til the last minute, because this is different from a lot of the storms that we've seen, since I’ve been governor, as it’s fast.”

The hurricane’s approach came as President Trump visited Florida ahead of the storm on Monday. Trump made no mention of climate change or a new landmark United Nations report saying humanity has only a dozen years to mitigate climate change or face global catastrophe. We’ll have more on the climate report later in the broadcast.

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US prepared for hurricanes?

By Jim Scott

People in the US are bracing themselves for another day of heavy winds, destroyed houses and environmental damage as Hurricane Michael trundles down Florida’s coast at more than 130mph. CNN reports the storm has since been upgraded to Category 4 only one less than the maximum rating given to the deadliest of storms. But has the US learned how to prepare and manage the trail left by these storms?

At the start of the week, Storm Michael was a category 1. Grading of category 1 means there is expected to be minimal disruption and effects no greater than a heavy wind storm with heavy rain. But as virtually overnight the hurricane was upgraded, more than 375,000 people on the Gulf Coast were ordered to evacuate their homes and businesses.

Florida’s oil industry is suspended as the hurricane rages through. The Financial Times reports, oil refineries on the coast have closed as worries intensify over the damage Storm Michael could cause. Meanwhile previous residents elsewhere, who went through the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence earlier this year, have warned the Florida population to "prepare" for the worst, according to Wral.com.

It seems that the common denominator in all hurricanes past and present is to "get prepared and leave the house and don’t look back", this advice has been handed down from the family who survived Hurricane Florence and echoed by hundreds of others, Wral.com continues.

Meanwhile tourists from all parts of the world have had many of their Florida-bound flights cancelled. The Guardian reports a threat to life but advises consumers cannot simply cancel their arrangements, in place for later this month or even November, for fear or "disinclination" to travel as October is classed as "hurricane season" by holiday companies. It is expected the hurricane will pass towards the third week of October.

However, whilst the current hurricane is forcing many to barricade and abandon their Florida homes. A report published three-years-ago revealed a poll which suggested American’s did not feel prepared for another hurricane. The survey made public, revealed 51 percent of those asked, said the US was "vulnerable" and expected another Katrina-style aftermath, which left thousands homeless and without aid.

But the battle scars have not faded neither, the WFAE reports America’s Federal Emergency Management Agency did not grant aid to one woman whose home was destroyed. Dianne Powell, whose home was twice destroyed by hurricanes said FEMA held "dozens of meetings" with her but to no avail.

Ms Powell said: "You work all your life, you have a decent home.

"And you go in front of FEMA and they sometimes look like they couldn’t care less, or like they think you’re lying. It was just so painful. I said forget it."

Reportedly before the last hurricane, FEMA admitted that "some people will be lost in the process" as officials tried to address concerns the last time round. One FEMA officer, Libby Turner present during a storm last year said: "Unfortunately, there are times when not every need is met, but our staff works really hard to try and avoid that, it’s sad.

"There are times when I stumble because it just makes me want to write [their names] down and go find them."

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Natural Gas Intel

Natural Gas, Oil Volumes Shut In as Florida Braces for Hurricane Michael

As Hurricane Michael continued on its collision course with the western Florida coast Tuesday, natural gas markets were left to weigh the impacts of Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production shut-ins against the potential demand destruction from storm-related power outages.

As of 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, Michael was about 295 miles south of Panama City, FL, traveling north at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm, a Category 3, was projected to make landfall with the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday before moving northeastward through the southeastern United States. NHC said Michael is expected to deliver heavy rainfall, hurricane force winds and life threatening storm surge.

Based on operator reports, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Tuesday estimated that around 726 MMcf/d (28.4%) of natural gas production and 670,831 b/d (39.5%) of oil production in the GOM had been shut in ahead of the storm.

As of midday Tuesday, 75 platforms and three rigs had been evacuated, while eight dynamically positioned rigs had been moved out of the storm’s path as a precaution, according to BSEE.

Genscape Inc.’s GOM production estimate Tuesday was down to 1,695 MMcf/d, more than 1 Bcf/d below the prior 14-day average, with the declines attributable to flows being shut-in at platforms offshore Alabama and Mississippi.

BP plc said it was “in the process of evacuating personnel and shutting in production at Atlantis, Mad Dog, Na Nika and Thunder Horse platforms in preparation for Hurricane Michael,” Genscape analysts Nicole McMurrer and Margaret Jones said. “The Atlantis/Mad Dog flows are related to the MarsGath/Ursa point on Mississippi Canyon, which has been flowing around 290 MMcf/d on average for the last week.

“The Na Kika and Thunder Horse platforms show up on the Destin Pipeline under the Okeanos-to-Destin point, which includes flows from Thunder Horse, Thunder Hawk and Na Kika,” the analysts said. “This point was flowing around 240 MMcf/d on average last week but has been down to nominating about 25 MMcf/d over the last two days. Offshore production on Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line from offshore Alabama is down about 100 MMcf/d as well,” potentially related to Michael.

Destin Pipeline Co. LLC notified shippers that it planned to evacuate its Main Pass 260 platform on Tuesday in preparation for the storm.

“Offshore transportation services will continue to be available following the evacuation, provided there is a total throughput of 160 MMcf/d flowing to the Pascagoula Gas Processing Plant,” the plant’s minimum requirement to sustain operations, the operator said.

On the demand side, McMurrer and Jones said Michael is expected to have less impact than last year’s Hurricane Irma, since “Michael is a relatively compact system that should miss the largest demand areas in Florida.

“In contrast, total power demand destruction during Irma was approximately 10 Bcf over a seven-day period,” McMurrer and Jones said. “Power demand fell by around 2.5 Bcf/d from peak-to-trough in the U.S. Southeast region (mostly in Florida). On Sept. 11, 2017, 6.1 million customers in Florida were without power (56% of the state), which fell to 2.6 million by Sept. 15, 2017.

“Although Michael is likely to bring power outages, they are unlikely to have the widespread impact of outages during Irma since more of the impacts will be on the lower population density Panhandle rather than the peninsula.”

Utilities in the region were busy bracing for Michael’s landfall. Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) said it had deployed 1,350 employees and contractors along Florida’s west coast and the northern parts of its service territory to be ready to respond to any storm impacts.

“Although we are hopeful that Hurricane Michael will not directly impact our service area, our team stands at the ready to restore power safely and quickly for our customers and help others to do the same for their customers,” FPL CEO Eric Silagy said. “This includes preparing to move our workers and equipment to the areas where they may be most needed. We appreciate Gov. Rick Scott’s forward-leaning decision to declare a state of emergency days before the storm hits, which helps FPL and other electric providers prepare and restore power more quickly and efficiently.”

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