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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.

Expand chart
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.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

The latest: Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Bill Clinton released from hospital following treatment for non-COVID infection

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was discharged from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Sunday, nearly a week after he was admitted for a non-COVID-related infection, according to his spokesperson Angel Ureña.

What they're saying: "His fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics," wrote Dr. Alpesh Amin, who has been overseeing the team of doctors treating Clinton. "On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress."

Worth noting: Clinton had a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, per CNN.

  • The California-based medical team had been administering IV antibiotics and fluids, and was in constant communication with Clinton's New York team, including his cardiologist, according to the former president's physicians.
  • President Biden spoke by phone with Clinton on Friday to see how he was doing, and the catch-up included a discussion of recent politics.