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Beryl a Monstrous, Early Start to Hurricane Season

The Category 5 hurricane could threaten petrochemicals operations in Mexico and the US Gulf Coast.

Norbert Sparrow

July 2, 2024

2 Min Read
Hurricane Beryl
Cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl's passage in Barbados.RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images

While it’s too early to tell if Hurricane Beryl will threaten petrochemicals operations along the US Gulf Coast, it has already carved a devastating path as it makes its way toward Mexico, possibly affecting facilities in that country.

Earliest Category 5 storm on record headed for Jamaica.

The earliest Category 5 storm on record in the Atlantic, Hurricane Beryl has “left in its wake immense destruction” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, as reported by CNN today. At the time of writing, it was barreling toward Jamaica, where the government has activated emergency measures ahead of hurricane conditions expected to impact the island as early as Wednesday, July 3.

If the storm system continues to move to the west, it could threaten Mexican petrochemicals facilities in the state of Veracruz, the major port city of Coatzacoalcos, and Braskem Idesa’s integrated polyethylene (PE) Ethylene XXI complex, writes ICIS. Beryl could also make landfall in Altamira, which has multiple chemical facilities, adds the global commodity intelligence firm for the energy, chemical, and fertilizer industries.

Writing in Forbes, meteorological expert Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd said he is “stunned” by the arrival of a Category 5 hurricane so early in the season. “Category 5 hurricanes are somewhat of an anomaly relatively speaking in any hurricane season. However, a Category 5 hurricane before the Fourth of July is unprecedented." Shepherd was the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society and is director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program.

Above-average hurricane season forecast.

Back in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service forecast an 85% chance of an above-normal hurricane season. The Atlantic is expected to have “above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Nina conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds, and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation,” it said.

The PlasticsExchange has been relaying these forecasts in our Resin Price Report column over the past few weeks, and it may go someway toward explaining why resin trading activity has been especially active recently. Processors may be stocking up just in case supply-chain disruptions are in the offing. As the ICIS article notes, “even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies often evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution.”

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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