MIAMI (Reuters) - An area of low pressure over southwest Georgia could move southward into Gulf of Mexico waters by early Monday and has a medium chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.
The low pressure area was the remnant of Tropical Depression Five which dissipated on Wednesday in the Gulf.
The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is home to about 30 percent of U.S. oil production, 11 percent of natural gas production, and more than 43 percent of U.S. refinery capacity.
“This system is forecast to move southward toward the northern Gulf Coast later today and tonight and it could emerge over the Gulf waters by early Monday, where conditions are expected to be conducive for some development,” the Miami-based hurricane center said.
It gave the system a “medium chance”, 30 percent, of becoming a tropical cyclone again during the next 48 hours.
Jeff Masters of private forecaster Weather Underground said long range radar showed a band of intense thunderstorms related to the low had developed over the northern Gulf of Mexico.
“The system may have enough time over water to become a weak tropical storm before making landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning over Southeast Louisiana,” he added in a blog posting on www.wunderground.com.
Last week, as a precautionary measure due to the approaching tropical depression before it dissipated, BP had announced a delay of two to three days on its final work on a relief well to permanently kill its blown-out Macondo well, the source of the world’s worst offshore oil spill.
BP is now carrying out a last batch of tests of well pressures ahead of an expected official government go-ahead to finish the relief well.
The 2O10 Atlantic Hurricane season has seen only three tropical storms so far, with only one reaching hurricane strength.
The season is nearing its traditionally most active phase, which runs from mid-August through October. Hurricanes feed on warm water and the tropical Atlantic is warmest at that time.