Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT en Junio 04, 2010

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Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though.

The present ocean current configuration in the Gulf features a newly formed Loop Current Eddy (dubbed "Franklin"), which will tend to capture the majority of oil that flows southwards from the Deepwater Horizon spill site. A plot of drifting buoys (drifters) launched into the Gulf May 19 - 24 (Figure 2) reveals how this clockwise-rotating eddy has been capturing southward-moving surface water. Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. Between now and mid-August, I doubt that a significant amount of oil will get into the Loop Current, unless a hurricane or tropical storm goes through the Gulf of Mexico. I put the odds of this happening by mid-August at 50%. The odds of a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico will increase sharply after mid-August, when the peak portion of hurricane season arrives. Past history shows a 95% chance of getting two or more named storms in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane seasons with above-normal activity.


Figure 1. Animation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showing one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean.


Figure 2. During the R/V Bellows 19-24 May 2010 Cruise into the Loop Current, drifters were dropped on the eastern edge of the Loop Current. These drifters have all been caught in Loop Current Eddy "Franklin", and are orbiting the central Gulf of Mexico in clockwise loops. Additional drifters deployed by the Coast Guard over the past few weeks (orange colors) are also shown. The colored balloons show the starting location of the drifters. Image credit: University of South Florida.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet unleashes heavy rains on Oman
Tropical Cyclone Phet hit the northern tip of Oman yesterday as a Category 2 storm, bringing torrential rains and killing at least two people. Masirah, Oman recorded sustained winds of 74 mph yesterday, and Sur, Oman on the northeast coast has received 3.25 inches of rain so far. Phet was the 2nd strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, when it peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was stronger. Phet has emerged from the coast of Oman this morning, but is likely to weaken over the next day due to increased wind shear. Phet should hit Pakistan as a tropical storm on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and serious flooding.

Next update
I'll probably have one update over the weekend. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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2156. IKE
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


That's why I count HurricaneKing as the first wishcaster ;) He's no troll though.



Seems like I remember recent posts from him.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Actually using Hurridat data, it appears to have made landfall on a small island in Scorpion reef. I am actively consulting with a guy from the hpc, as he tries to get the error fixed.


looking back I see 4 storms that they say didnt make landfall after being a Hurricane in the Gulf

If what you say about Henri is true, then 3 of those to me are incorrect

Laurie in 1969 made landfall as a tropical depression, so I am not sure why she was on the list

Alberto in 1982 was declassified right before reaching the coast of SW Florida, so I am not sure if that one should be on the list either


That leaves only 1 storm; Hurricane Jeanne in 1980
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2153. IKE
2150....LOL...talk about wishcasting.
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TORNADO WARNING
MEC001-023-052215-
/O.NEW.KGYX.TO.W.0002.100605T2155Z-100605T2215Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAY ME
555 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAY MAINE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN ANDROSCOGGIN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MAINE...
WESTERN SAGADAHOC COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL MAINE...

* UNTIL 615 PM EDT

* AT 551 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR LISBON...OR
NEAR LEWISTON...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
LISBON...BOWDOIN AND BOWDOINHAM.

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM! TREES HAVE BEEN BLOWN DOWN ON HOMES AND
LARGE HAIL...UP TO TWO INCHES IN SIZE HAS BEEN OBSERVED RECENTLY
WITH THIS STORM. FUNNEL CLOUDS HAVE ALSO BEEN SIGHTED WITH THIS
STORM STORM THE LAST HOUR! TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY IF IN THE PATH
OF THIS DEADLY STORM IN THE BOWDOIN AND LISBON AREAS!
Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Chicklit, would you count Frances 2004 as a major landfalling hurricane?

...
Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Frances
25 August - 8 September 2004
John L. Beven II
National Hurricane Center
17 December 2004
Frances was a Cape Verde-type hurricane that reached a peak intensity of category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It affected the Bahamas as a category 3 hurricane and the Florida east coast as a category 2 hurricane.
Frances

Frances was a long, drawn out pain in the bootie. She dropped a lotta rain over here in ECFL.


Although landfall she was a Cat 2 (nothing to sneeze at), we were already hurting from Charlie I don't think even two weeks before.


Linkto2004HurricaneMap(enlargeable)
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2147. IKE
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
This blog entry has two historic comments. I asked about hurricanes and global warming, and unleashed a real can of worms in comment #3. And then HurricaneKing made his prediction about hurricane Emily in comment #35. He lives in NC, btw.

Link


LOL! Uh..not close?

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2145. xcool
OMG OIL
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Based on the track it did not make landfall after entering the Gulf


Actually using Hurridat data, it appears to have made landfall on a small island in Scorpion reef. I am actively consulting with a guy from the hpc, as he tries to get the error fixed.
Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting hurricane23:
And yet there some folks in sfl who think they have been through a bonafied major. Andrew was a very small compact cyclone with an extremly powerful small core of winds that went through florida city not metropolitan dade/broward. In all honestly my fear is a repeat of the 26 miami hurricane which could amount to a disaster of epic proportions in my view.


Imagine if Floyd at peak hit Florida..
Member Since: Julio 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24245
Was just listening to local news and I swear they said the cap is collecting half the oil leaking out...

There is now way that can be true, right?
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Quoting MrstormX:


Hurricane Henri, but technically it did make landfall.


Based on the track it did not make landfall after entering the Gulf
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2139. xcool
hurricane23 hEY
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
Trivia time!

Has a storm ever been a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and not made landfall?


Hurricane Henri, but technically it did make landfall. On Scorpion reef...
Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting xcool:
Hurricanes101 Miami get hit 7.32 years
The last hurricane to hit Miami was Katrina and I really wouldn't call it a hurricane. It only had winds of 75 MPH, it was just borderline.
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2136. Dr3w
I mean dont get me wrong Florida needs a break, scratch that Everyone needs a break from Hurricanes striking them. But if there is one state that desrves a break more than the rest, I say Texas deserves it.
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And yet there some folks in sfl who think they have been through a bonafied major. Andrew was a very small compact cyclone with an extremly powerful small core of winds that went through florida city not metropolitan dade/broward. In all honestly my fear is a repeat of the 26 miami hurricane which could amount to a disaster of epic proportions in my view.
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Trivia time!

Has a storm ever been a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and not made landfall?
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I think theres possible more people on here, especilly from florida, who want to see stroms hit them just for the thrill of teh action. They dont say that. :)
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Quoting GBguy88:


Amen...I seem to remember Hanna and Isidore pulling us out of a particularly nasty drought back in 2002, I think it was. Aside from some beach erosion, I don't remember much in the way of damage.


Yah over the years Florida has been helped from TCs as well, I seem to recall that Tropical Depression One of 1990 pulled Florida out of one of its largest droughts ever. And I know there have been many others since.
Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting IKE:


I would.....




Yea me too
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
If you compare the strikes, east and west coasts of Florida combined with South Florida. You will note, that other than Katrina as a category 1 coming across Miami, and Wilma as a major striking the west coast. That Florida since 04 has been relatively safe. We truly have not had an east coast major hurricane since Andrew strike going East to West...
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
If you compare the strikes, east and west coasts of Florida combined with South Florida. You will note, that other than Katrina as a category 1 coming across Miami, and Wilma as a major striking the west coast. That Florida since 04 has been relatively safe. We truly have not had an east coast major hurricane since Andrew strike going East to West...
Florida is an for one hell of a year along side with the entire Gulf coast. I can't really pinpoint what area of Florida will be affected the most but the eastern and western coast of Florida is in for a tough year.
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2128. IKE
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Chicklit, would you count Frances 2004 as a major landfalling hurricane?


I would.....


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2127. xcool
Hurricanes101 Miami get hit 7.32 years
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Wow flagging trolls for disagreeing with you?

Classy, no wonder you can't keep a handle for more than a week lol


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2124. GBguy88
Quoting MrstormX:


It should also be noted that not all TC are inherently bad, during times of drought weak tropical systems can provide a much needed relief to those conditions.


Amen...I seem to remember Hanna and Isidore pulling us out of a particularly nasty drought back in 2002, I think it was. Aside from some beach erosion, I don't remember much in the way of damage.
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We have seen enough of what a slow moving no name system can do down here in South Florida. If you think back a few years ago, we had a system come through South Florida that was not named whatsoever and it dumped a load of rain and was damaging enough. Never got named, but the rain is what caused me to remember it.
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WOW here in Macon it dropped from 92 to 77 within the last hour.
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Quoting sarahjola:
about 21n 94 west maybe that area
Thank you, I need to have eye exam, I don't see a spin there
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For those of you following the Maine tornado, the latest radar image is not good looking. Strong rotation, and the classic "hook" are moving right towards the coastal city of Bath.

Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
2118. xcool




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Quoting TropicalWave:
Miami hasn't been hit by a major direct cane, in about 18 years, since Andrew, ain't that something. All of the major canes that struck Florida in 04, all struck ''well'' north of Dade-County.


Ah so they don't count in your book? lol

Typical
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2115. IKE
Quoting Eagle101:
Ike...looks like you’re about to see more rain...that line looks like it is dissipating…

v/r

Jon


True...I've been following it and it is weakening.


Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
IKE last night I found the first wishcast on Dr. Master's blog ;)


I'd like to read it. Can you link it? Thanks.
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2114. Dr3w
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


And Frances was also nearly a 3 and did caused widespread terrible damage in east Florida.

I wouldn't have a problem counting Frances as a major hurricane.


Same here, I evacuated for Frances
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...TROPICAL WAVES...

TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 27W S OF 11N MOVING W AT 10-15 KT.
VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS WELL DEFINED CYCLONIC CIRCULATION ABOUT THE WAVE AXIS IN THE LOW-LEVEL CLOUD FIELD. IT ALSO COINCIDES WITH THE LEADING EDGE OF A DEEP-LAYER MOISTURE MAXIMUM ON TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER IMAGERY. SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM THE EQUATOR TO 8N BETWEEN 26W-31W.

WPB is a good place to start South Florida.

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Ike...looks like you’re about to see more rain...that line looks like it is dissipating…

v/r

Jon
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Quoting hurricane23:


Thats exactly right even a slow moving TD can cause havoc. In terms of a major cyclone its been 5 years. I'am expecting a wild cv season with a few long trackers (1998).


It should also be noted that not all TC are inherently bad, during times of drought weak tropical systems can provide a much needed relief to those conditions.
Member Since: Mayo 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
When I speak of South Florida, you have to read into what I am saying. I am talking about South Florida East Coast, from West Palm Beach on down southward.
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Either way the bottom line is the "troll" said that 5 years is a long enough of a break from a Major Hurricane hitting Florida

There is never a long enough of a break for something like that
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:


Great, a rainy weekend. Is this a low that is perched over Florida or is there something else?

Hi PlywoodState,
Afternoon thundershowers.
Quick to come, quick to go.
Typical summer set up.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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