Major petroleum pipelines in the United States began partial shutdowns Friday, the result of terminals supplied by those pipelines closing ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival.

Irene was expected to slam into Queens County, N.Y., or Nassau County, N.Y., Saturday evening. Before then, however, the category 2 storm is expected to wreak havoc along the Mid-Atlantic coast, home to scores of petroleum terminals where tanker trucks come to pickup fuel. It is also expected to crash into southern coasts of Nassau County, N.Y., or Queens County, N.Y., site of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Terminals in those area were closing to minimize the likelihood of damage from Irene's onslaught, a move that prompted pipelines that supply terminals from Virginia to New York, to reduce or halt the flow of petroleum.

Buckeye Pipe Line, which carries jet fuel to John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark International Airport, was expected to be affected as terminals in the New York City area close ahead Saturday's expected landfall of Irene.

The Colonial Pipeline, the main transporter of petroleum from the Gulf Coast to the New York City area, expects to close its line from Greensboro, N.C., northward in response to terminal closures in the Mid-Atlantic and the New York City area, said Brian Mile, Refined Fuels Editor for Telvent DTN.

A Colonial Pipeline spokesman said preparations for the hurricane have been underway all week.

For the past several days, hurricane plans have been deployed in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, said Steve Baker.

These include sand-bagging critical equipment and buildings, preparing tanks for the chance of water gathering within our dykes, prepping emergency generators in the case of power failures, communicating with customers to be sure we know each other's plans and working with state officials to ensure lines of communications are clear and open.

Meanwhile, the operator of Buckeye said it plans to initiate start up procedures Friday of its marine terminal in the Bahamas. Buckeye had suspended operations at the terminal on Wednesday night as part of its preparations to secure the facility for Hurricane Irene.

The storm has now passed the Bahamas and there has been effectively no adverse impact from the storm on the facility, the company said. We expect the terminal to be fully operational again by Monday.