Houston Ship Channel traffic stopped by cold, wind-Coast Guard

HOUSTON Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:56pm EST

A tug boat navigates the Houston ship channel with a flare from an oil refinery and storage facility in the background south of downtown Houston January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Richard Carson

A tug boat navigates the Houston ship channel with a flare from an oil refinery and storage facility in the background south of downtown Houston January 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Carson

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Ship traffic was halted along the Houston Ship Channel on Thursday night after a strong blast of cold weather raised gale force winds along the Texas Coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Ship pilots called a halt to guiding vessels along the 53-mile (85-kilometer) Channel connecting the nation's busiest petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico at 8:15 p.m. CST Thursday (0215 GMT Friday), the Coast Guard said.

Earlier on Thursday, ship pilots stopped guiding vessels to the ports of Galveston and Texas City, Texas due to high winds.

On Thursday afternoon, the Coast Guard warned mariners that the cold front could bring gale force winds to the area.

Gale force winds are sustained winds at surface level of between 39 to 54 miles per hour (63-87 kilometers per hour), according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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