As reported on www.pnj.com
NEW ORLEANS – Tropical Storm Edouard took aim at the coasts of Texas and Louisiana today, threatening to pick up strength from warm Gulf waters and gain near-hurricane speeds over the next 24 hours.
Emergency teams were activated as Gulf residents prepared for a second strong storm in less than a month, although Edouard is forecast to hit a different stretch of the Texas coast or Louisiana than Hurricane Dolly did last month.
Bob West, public safety manager for Pensacola Beach, said lifeguards changed the surf warning flags from yellow to red Sunday because the surf already was beginning to get rough.
Meteorologist Keith Williams with National Weather Service in Mobile said the storm won't have much effect on the Pensacola area.
"The surf may be a little higher, but (the storm is) heading west," Williams said.
Some of the Gulf's offshore oil and natural gas drilling platforms sit in the storm's path. But Edouard is not likely to disrupt production, according to one financial firm that specializes in the energy industry.
"He'll just be (a) little tropical storm tike compared to big mamma's that rip things up and spike gas prices," the Houston-based securities firm Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. said in a note to investors today.
Shell Oil Co. said this morning it had begun evacuating about 40 workers from some of its operations in the western Gulf. The company said no further evacuations were planned based on the current forecast and that it expected no impact on production.