Hurricane Patricia, a hurricane stronger than Hurricane Katrina, is positioned to hit Mexico’s largest ports and resort areas sometime today. Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basin and is expected to reach land between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The winds are projected to be as high as 200 miles per hour, making it a category 5 major storm. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina, which was extremely devastating to both land and human life, was a Category 3 storm when it hit land. Although it’s unclear what Patricia’s strength will be when it reaches the shore, some experts see it remaining as a category 5.
This forceful storm will also cause much moisture in parts of Texas, threatening a large part of the state—from San Antonio to Houston and as far north as Dallas—with 8 to 10 inches of rain and flash flood warnings in some areas. As the EIA graphic below shows, nearly 44% of U.S. refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast, so it will be interesting to track the storm and its effects.
A fire in the Phillips 66 Bayway (New Jersey) refinery’s transformer unit occurred earlier this week. The refinery has not provided a timeline for when operations will be back to normal. As one of the largest East Coast refineries, any prolonged downtime at Bayway could significantly impact supply of refined products in East Coast markets.