Gulf Coast Braces For Tropical Storm Cristobal To Strike On Sunday

Tropical Storm Cristobal continues to strengthen as the storm is headed to an area of the Louisiana coast littered with offshore oil platforms.

A 10:00 ET tropical update via the National Weather Service (NWS) warns "tropical-storm-force winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall are expected to begin along portions of the northern Gulf Coast tonight and Sunday morning." 

h/t NWS

Ahead of impacts, here's our reporting last week of Cristobal's movements: 

Cristobal is sustaining winds of 50 mph and could strengthen before making landfall along the Louisiana coast on Sunday. The center of the storm will likely strike the eastern Louisiana coastline late Sunday afternoon. 

At least 65 Gulf of Mexico offshore oil platforms have shuttered operations, resulting in a decline of 500,000 barrels per day (BPD) of oil production. Gulf of Mexico oil platforms represents about 15% of total daily US production. 

Cristobal's trajectory 

A Reuters source said crude refineries located on the Louisiana coast plan to continue operating this weekend, despite tropical threats on Sunday into Monday. Torrential rains and high winds are expected between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. 

Cristobal's impact zone 

As of early Saturday afternoon, Cristobal is about 365 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and traveling north at around 14 mph. 

*Updates will follow as the storm closes in on the Louisiana coast.