LAKEWOOD, NJ (Opis Energy Group) -- September 20, 2002 -- While Hurricane Isidore has led to some precautionary evacuations of oil rigs in the Gulf Coast, U.S. refineries most likely would not be affected until Tuesday at the earliest should the hurricane's trajectory land it stateside, meteorologists at Weather 2000 tell OPIS.

Isidore currently is a Category 2 hurricane with winds of nearly 105 mph and is dumping considerable amounts of rain on Cuba. At 21.7 degrees North latitude, the hurricane has a west-northwest trajectory at present and isn't likely to take a more northward path until hitting the Tropic of Cancer latitude of 23.5 degrees North. That's when northward steering currents could increase the likelihood of eventual land strikes in Louisiana and Texas.

At the same time, Weather 2000 notes, there's always the possibility of Isidore continuing a more westerly course and eventually plowing into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Hence the dilemma for refiners and oil rigs preparing for a possible strike: While Isidore's slow movement increases the likelihood of it building into a potentially destructive Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane, that same slow pace at this point makes it difficult to say exactly where Isidore is headed.

"Isidore could be a proverbial 'Bull in a China Shop' with regards to energy platforms and rigs, impacting a large swath of the Gulf of Mexico with large sea swells, torrential rains and even triggering water spouts and tornadoes hundreds of miles from the center," Weather 2000 said.

Weather 2000 also provided this synopsis of past hurricanes:
-- Last hurricane to strike U.S. mainland: Irene (October 1999).
-- Last hurricane anywhere in the Gulf: Keith (September-October 2000).
-- Last major hurricane (Category 3 or greater) to strike U.S. Gulf Coast: Bret (August 1999).
-- Last major hurricane to strike Central Gulf Coast: Andrew (August 1992).
-- Last hurricane that has best-fit to forecasted location, motion and strength to Isidore: Frederic (August-September 1979). That hurricane crossed over the Mississippi-Alabama border just west of Mobile.

- Brad Addington (

Copyright, Oil Price Information Service.

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