Home > Historical/Selected Significant Energy Disruptions > Hurricane Earl
Hurricane Earl
Released: September 3, 2010 2:00 p.m. EDT

Map Sources: Infrastructure—Energy Information Administration (GasTran System), Ventyx (Energy Velocity);
Hurricane path with 67% likelihood cone—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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A total of 1.1 million barrels per day of operable refinery capacity, or about 7 percent of the nation's total capacity, lies within the likely affected area. This includes 858,000 barrels per day at four refineries in the Philadelphia area, a 238,000-barrel-per-day refinery on New York Harbor, and a 66,000-barrel-per-day refinery at Yorktown.
EIA does not expect to post further updates. See the Storm Progress from NOAA tab below for storm track.

September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl has weakened considerably, but remains a threat to parts of the Atlantic coastline in the northeastern United States and Canada. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that, as of 2:00 p.m. EDT, September 3, 2010, Hurricane Earl was centered about 290 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The storm had sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (Category 1), and was moving north-northeast at approximately 21 miles per hour. Hurricane Earl passed near Cape Hatteras overnight, causing some flooding, road and ferry closures, and power outages, though no casualties or major property damage have yet been reported.

The National Weather Service has reduced the Hurricane Warning area to cover only Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, while a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for much of the remaining U.S. coastline from Virginia north. The Canadian Weather Service has also issued a Hurricane Watch for parts of Nova Scotia. Watches and warnings will continue to be revised as the storm progresses northward.

September 2, 2010 p.m.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that, as of 2:00 p.m. EDT, September 2, 2010, Hurricane Earl was centered about 245 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 720 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The storm had sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (Category 3), and was moving north-northwest at approximately 18 miles per hour.

The U.S. Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Maine remains under threat, with the projected track passing close to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, before making landfall near the border between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada on Saturday, September 4. A National Weather Service Hurricane Warning now covers most of the North Carolina coastline, as well as the Massachusetts coastline south of Boston, including Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. A Hurricane Watch continues to apply to the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware coastline. The Canadian Weather Service has also issued a Hurricane Watch for parts of Nova Scotia. Watches and warnings will continue to be revised as the storm progresses northward.

September 2, 2010 a.m.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that, as of 5:00 a.m. EDT, September 2, 2010, Hurricane Earl was centered about 410 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 870 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The storm had sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (Category 4), and was moving north-northwest at approximately 18 miles per hour.

The projected track of Hurricane Earl has changed little overnight, and it remains likely to pass close to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, before making landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada early Saturday, September 4. The National Weather Service continues to post a Hurricane Warning to cover most of the North Carolina coastline, while a Hurricane Watch now applies to the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware coastline, along with Westport to Plymouth, Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. Watches and warnings will continue to be revised as the storm progresses northward.

Although Hurricane Earl presents a potential threat to petroleum refineries and seaports, current relatively high inventory levels for most petroleum products should lessen concerns about possible supply outages. EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) for the week ending August 27, 2010 showed inventories of gasoline, distillate fuels (including diesel fuel), and jet fuel well above their seasonal average ranges, both for the East Coast and the United States as a whole. Additionally, the peak summer gasoline demand season typically ends with Labor Day weekend, and the winter heating demand season does not begin until later in the fall, so petroleum demand should be well below maximum levels over the next few weeks. However, as with any event featuring severe weather, there is a significant likelihood of localized power and transportation outages.

September 1, 2010

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that, as of 2:00 p.m. EDT, September 1, 2010, Hurricane Earl was centered about 275 miles east of Abaco Island, Bahamas, and about 680 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The storm had sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (Category 3), and was moving northwest at approximately 17 miles per hour.

Hurricane Earl is a large and powerful hurricane, and its current forecast track would take it near the U.S. East Coast at Cape Hatteras, then remaining offshore, but moving up the coast past New England to make landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada by Saturday, September 4. The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for much of the North Carolina coast, and a Hurricane Watch from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Henlopen, Delaware. Further watches and warnings are expected for the U.S. Atlantic coast as the storm progresses northward.

The projected path of Hurricane Earl has significance for energy supply because of its proximity to refineries in Yorktown, Virginia, and the Philadelphia and New York Harbor areas, along with major seaports throughout the Eastern Seaboard. A total of 1.1 million barrels per day of operable refinery capacity, or about 7 percent of the nation's total capacity, lies within the likely affected area. In addition, strong winds and a potential storm surge could impact electric power infrastructure throughout the coastal region.