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Energy market watching tropical wave in Atlantic

1/07/2008 - 19:30

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A strong tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa could develop further over the next couple of days, meteorologists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center and AccuWeather.com said Tuesday.

"Environmental conditions could allow for some slow development of this system during the next couple of days as it moves westward at about 15 to 20 mph," the NHC said.

AccuWeather.com pointed to six tropical waves in the Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea but said the one near the west coast of Africa was the strongest and could possibly develop over the next couple of days.

The other waves were located near Central America, near the coast of Venezuela, north of French Guiana, north of eastern Brazil and between Brazil and West Africa.

AccuWeather.com said environmental conditions were not favorable for development of the other tropical waves.

Natural gas traders were eyeing the wave to see if it strengthened further. Energy traders typically track storms that could enter the Gulf of Mexico and threaten U.S. oil and gas production facilities, after storms in the summer of 2005 knocked out key infrastructure and sent crude prices to then-record highs.

Commodities traders also watch storms that could affect agricultural crops like citrus and cotton in Florida and other states along the Gulf Coast.

The NHC will name the next Atlantic tropical storm Bertha.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino and Matthew Robinson)


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