Tropical Storm Debby expected to become hurricane (+video)
Tropical Storm Debby, now off the cost of Louisiana, is forecast to strengthen, turn west, and head toward Texas.
Tropical Storm Debby churned slowly toward the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday with 50 mph (30 kph) winds and was expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it skirted the Louisiana coast and took aim at Texas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Debby was centered about 165 miles (265 km) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving slowly northward at around 3 mph (5 kph). The storm was expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday night.
Debby was forecast to turn west, grazing the Louisiana coast through Tuesday and slamming into Texas late in the week.
Oil and gas producers evacuated workers from platforms and shut in production on Saturday as the weather worsened in the Gulf of Mexico, which is home to 20 percent of U.S. oil production and 6 percent of natural gas output.
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversees oil and gas activity in the Gulf, said earlier on Saturday that 7.8 percent of daily oil output and 8.16 percent of daily natural gas output were shut down.