July 21, 2014 / 7:25 PM / in 3 years

Funnel cloud passes over Texas refining hub, no damage

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A slender funnel cloud passed over the refining hub of Texas City, Texas, on Monday but never touched down, the city’s emergency management director said.

“There’s no damage due to the funnel,” said Derek Duckett, Texas City emergency management director. “I was watching it. The funnel came halfway down to the ground. It never touched the ground.”

Asked specifically if any of the refineries in Texas City reported damage, Duckett said, “No, none. None’s been reported.”

The funnel, which spun up shortly before 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT) moved over the southeast side of Texas City before passing over Galveston Bay, Duckett said.

Texas City is home to three refineries, two of which are owned by Marathon Petroleum Corp - the 80,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Texas City refinery and the 451,000-bpd Galveston Bay refinery.

Valero Energy Corp owns a 225,000-bpd refinery in Texas City.

A Marathon spokeswoman confirmed that a tornado did not touch down at their facilities.

“We spotted a funnel cloud near our refineries in Texas City which we reported to local response agencies.”

A Valero spokesman declined to discuss operations at the Texas City refinery.

Reporting by Erwin Seba and Tom Brown; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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