(Reuters) - Tropical Depression 13 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Lee, south of the Louisiana coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its report on Friday.
The latest alert from the NHC said the storm was located about 200 miles southeast of Cameron, Louisiana and about 210 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km/h).
The storm has prompted oil and gas producers to shut down platforms and evacuate workers from the offshore oil patch that provides about a third of the nation's oil production and about 12 percent of its natural gas.
Tropical cyclones become named tropical storms when their winds exceed 39 miles per hour (63 km/h) and develop into hurricanes when their winds reach more than 74 mph (119 km/h).
(Reporting by Antonita Devotta; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)