(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Lee was drifting northward toward the southern Louisiana coast causing squalls with heavy rain and gusty winds across much of southeastern and south-central Louisiana, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its report on Friday.
The latest alert from the NHC said the storm was located about 220 miles southeast of Port Arthur, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (75 km/h).
Nearly half of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil production and 33 percent of its natural gas output were shut down on Friday as Tropical Storm Lee formed off the Louisiana Coast, the U.S. government said.
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 Soma Das in Bangalore; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)