Tropical Storm Don Downgraded at Landfall; All Warnings End

Tropical Storm Don has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved across the Texas coastline near Baffin Bay last night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The depression was about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas, with maximum winds of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour, according to a hurricane center advisory issued just before 10 p.m. local time. All storm warnings for the coast have been canceled.

“Don is forecast to dissipate in a day or so as it moves farther inland,” the advisory said. “Data from an Air Force hurricane hunter plane indicate that the winds are also rapidly decreasing.”

At its height, Don forced the shutdown of more than 11.9 percent of oil production and 6.2 percent of gas output from the Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said yesterday.

Storms are watched closely because they are a threat to oil and natural gas interests in the Gulf, home to 31 percent of U.S. oil output and 7 percent of natural gas production. Coastal refineries account for 7.61 million barrels a day, or 42 percent of U.S. capacity.

Personnel were evacuated from 56 oil and gas platforms and four rigs in the Gulf, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.

Forecasters also are tracking two other areas of disturbed weather that have the potential to become storms. One is about 1,100 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles that has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days, according to the hurricane center.

The second is off the coast of Nicaragua and bringing rain across Central America, the center said. It has a near-zero percent chance of becoming a storm in the next two days because it’s so close to land.

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