Sep 12, 2018

Energy stakes of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean as it moves west, seen from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA via Getty Images.

Even though it's not heading for the Gulf Coast oil belt, Hurricane Florence could create some serious energy disruptions.

Threat level: Infrastructure in the storm's path includes the Colonial and Plantation Pipelines that carry refined products through the Carolinas.

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Data: National Hurricane Center; Chart: Chris Canipe and Laz Gamio/Axios

What we're hearing...

  • S&P Global Platts has a helpful primer that notes Florence could disrupt two East Coast LNG terminals and adds:

The most likely impacts are prolonged power outages across utility footprints, disruptions in natural gas production and transportation, delays in pipeline construction schedules and potential reductions in refined product supply to the Northeast.

U.S. oil prices remained higher early Wednesday traded as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the East Coast, boosting demand for crude and raising worries about disruptions to gasoline flows and pipelines in the region.

  • AAA's Jeanette Casselano warns in a statement:

A storm like this typically causes an increase in fuel purchases in the market and a slowdown in retail demand. Motorists can expect spikes in pump prices to be brief, but possibly dramatic.

Separately, Axios' Andrew Freedman explores the nexus between Hurricane Florence and climate change. Although global warming is not a direct cause of such storms, the changing climate can increase the risk of damage from the storm. A couple of his points...

  • There has been a poleward migration in where storms are reaching their peak intensity, which is related to the expansion of the tropics in a warming world. Florence fits this pattern, as it's unusually far north for such an intense storm.
  • Hurricanes that do form are tending to be more intense overall, and bring more rainfall, due to warming air and sea surface temperatures. The waters ahead of Hurricane Florence are about 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Go deeper: Read Andrew's full story in the Axios stream.

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The Atlantic Ocean and states in the Northeast are warming dramatically

Storm clouds on the skyline of Manhattan in New York City before a powerful storm brought nasty wind gusts Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress

States in the Northeast are warming more over the long and short-term than other U.S. regions, according to a USA Today analysis of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.

Why it matters: The changes have manifested in the unusual appearance of warm-water fish off the New England coast, the warming of the Great Lakes, and higher ocean temperatures, which influence coastal weather and push snowfall farther inland.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

From presidential politics to China to oil prices, here’s what I’m watching this year.

The big picture: A few key decisive moments this year will help determine whether concerns over climate change — rising since my last two annual outlook columns — will translate into action that would transform our global energy system.

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Surprisingly warm weather forecast for much of the U.S. ahead of the holidays

Temperatures could be 15–20 degrees higher than average in parts of the country ahead of the holidays, while two storms may bring as much as half a foot of rain to the Southeast and a mix of snow and rain to the Pacific Northwest, the Washington Post reports.

What to watch: A storm is brewing and is expected to move through the middle of the country late next week, as many people plan post-Christmas travel, the Post writes. It's too early to know for sure, but the storms could be disruptive to those plans, per the Post

Go deeperArrowDec 21, 2019