Oil continues impacting Louisiana coast; storms for Caribbean and SE U.S. waters?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:01 PM GMT on May 20, 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

Light southeast to east winds are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Sunday, resulting in potential oiling of Louisiana shorelines from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward 150 miles, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. Clouds over the Gulf of Mexico have cleared, and we should get a good view late this afternoon on how far south the oil spill has penetrated into the Loop Current. Statements from NOAA and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data imply that most of the oil that was pulled southwards to the northern boundary of the Loop Current is now caught in a counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to the north of the Loop Current. Some oil has escaped this eddy and is on its way south towards the Florida Keys. This tongue of oil consists of "numerous light sheens with some emulsified patties and streams," according to NOAA. I wish they'd provide more information about what the sensitivity of various ecosystems may be to oil at these concentrations. It would also be good to have more information about what the concentration of the toxic dispersants are in the surface waters of the spill, but I expect no one knows. The oil will grow more dilute as it travels the 500 miles to the Florida Keys. My present expectation is that the oil entering the Loop Current this week will cause only minor problems in the Keys next week. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the oil may do to the fragile Keys ecosystem. SAR imagery from last night and this morning continue to show a large plume of oil being drawn southeastward from the oil spill location into the northern boundary of the Loop Current. With winds expected to remain light over the coming week, I expect oil will continue to be drawn southwards into the Loop Current and the counter-clockwise rotating eddy just to its north. Much of the oil caught in this eddy may circulate around the eddy in 3 or so days, and potentially enter the Loop Current early next week. As I discussed in my post Wednesday, the Loop Current is very unstable right now, and is moving chaotically 10+ miles in a single day, making prediction difficult.


Figure 1. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image of the oil spill taken at 7:56am EDT May 20, 2010, by the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) RadarSat-1 satellite. Image credit: Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. SAR images have a resolution of 8 - 50 meters, and can be taken through clouds and precipitation.


Figure 2. Latest oil trajectory forecast from NOAA for this Saturday.

Oil spill resources
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the 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
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
HYCOM ocean current forecasts from LSU

Potential serious rainfall threat to Haiti next week
Long-range forecasts from the NOGAPS model, and to a lesser extent, the ECMWF and GFS models, continue to predict an increase in moisture and decrease in wind shear over the Western Caribbean 4 - 6 days from now, leading to development of a tropical disturbance with heavy rains in the Western Caribbean early next week. A strong subtropical jet stream over the southern Gulf of Mexico will steer the disturbance to the north and east, and the potential exists for heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches to affect eastern Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the Tuesday - Thursday time frame next week. It is possible that a tropical depression could form from this tropical disturbance, though most of the models indicate that high levels of wind shear will make this improbable.

Southeast U.S. coastal storm next week could become subtropical
A region of cloudiness and showers just east of the Bahama Islands will develop into a strong extratropical storm over the weekend. This storm is expected to move slowly northwestward towards the Southeast U.S. coast Sunday and Monday, and could bring 20 - 30 mph winds and heavy rain to the coast of North Carolina by Tuesday. While the storm will initially form in a region of high wind shear and be entirely extratropical, it will move into a region of lower wind shear in a gap between the polar jet stream to the north and the subtropical jet stream to its south early next week. At that time, the low will be positioned near the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and will have the opportunity to develop a shallow warm core and transition to a subtropical storm. The models are divided on whether the storm will eventually make landfall on the Southeast U.S. coast 6 - 7 days from now, and it is too early to offer odds on this occurring. The counter-clockwise flow of air around this low will probably lead to northeasterly winds over the oil spill region Monday through Wednesday, keeping oil away from the coasts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, but pushing oil westwards towards Texas. Wunderblogger Weather456 has a more detailed discussion of the potential development of this system in his blog this morning.

Tornadoes and large hail pound Oklahoma
A significant severe weather outbreak occurred last night over Oklahoma and surrounding states, with 25 tornado reports, 8 reports of damaging winds, and 23 hail reports. Severe weather wunderblogger Dr. Rob Carver has the details in his wunderblog this morning. The Vortex2 field project had a perfect opportunity to intercept these tornadoes, since they were slow moving and occurred over relatively unpopulated regions. The University of Michigan students writing our Vortex2 featured blog will have an update when their schedule allows.


Figure 3. Baseball-sized hail pounds a suburban Oklahoma City swimming pool, making huge splashes, in this remarkable video. The action gets really intense about 90 seconds into the video.

I'll be back with a new post Friday.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 81 - 31

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24Blog Index

Quoting Patrap:
My wetlands are dying as we speak..

How can we fix this..?


Look at the price that nature is just beginning...to feel

The Marsh is the nursery for 70% of all Marine Life in the GOM.
*********************************************
It is so sad today. It is breaking my heart. I love Billy Nungesser's passion but no one wants to help him. I think his idea is a good one. No one is cleaning that oil up as of this AM. Where is BP?? Won't let the press in. Threats of arrest. Someone needs to hear us and soon. Hurricane season scares me and if the marsh is gone. It really is a sad sad day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting smarterthanyou:


it's hardly that he "feels that way" It's that that's the way it is to imply God is at work in this is blasphemous


Once when I was in the midst of a disaster response and overwhelmed and crying out "Why" a wise older friend said to me. "Remember the prophet. God was not in the wind or storm, he was the still small voice. Don't look for God in the disaster but in the hearts of those who respond."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That's not a if scenario but a when scenario.

Just a matter of time before some of these guys forget just what the heck they're dealing with.

Quoting CycloneOz:


There's alot of "web traffic" today about that grid-lock you experienced.

Josh Wurmer is LIVID! There are those that are in agreement with him...but I'm cool on the matter.

You chase at your own risk. And it is high-risk activity.

As I stated months ago now, it could be a very dangerous thing to group up on two-lane roads the way they do, and I would try to avoid that scenario.

But I understand there are other considerations...including the most important, which is that the cell attracting the most chasers is usually the only one in the area that will produce the type of weather phenomenon chasers are seeking in the first place.

There are times I truly feel that tornado chasing is exponentially more dangerous than intercepting a Cat 5 hurricane.

Backed-up traffic on a two-lane road with a large, long-track tornado bearing down is a worst case scenario.

In such a scenario, "the shot of the day" will be when the tornado takes out about 75 chasers and their vehicles.

I'm so very glad and relieved that you and twisterseeker made it out of that predicament and are headed back to your families.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ajcamsmom2:
1. Patrap 10:03 AM CDT on May 20, 2010
My wetlands are dying as we speak..

How can we fix this..

--------------

Maybe NOT....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reGlno9aUpw..?



MOTHER EARTH.

Birds and butterflies
Rivers and mountains she creates
But you'll never know
The next move she'll make
You can try
But it is useless to ask why
Cannot control her
She goes her own way

She rules until the end of time
She gives and she takes
She rules until the end of time
She goes her way

With every breath
And all the choices that we make
We are only passing through on her way
I find my strength
Believing that their soul lives on
Until the end of time
I'll carry them with me

she rules until the end of time
she gives and she takes
she rules until the end of time
she goes her way

Once you will know my dear
You dont have to fear
A new beginning
Always starts at the end
Once you will know my dear
You dont have to fear ...
Until the end of time x3
She goes her way

she rules until the end of time
she gives and she takes
she rules until the end of time
until the end of time
until the end of time
she goes her way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
132:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


?????


was just wondering what that meant
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


Not necessarily, the gradient between the strong high to the north and the developing STS will feed the tropical moisture into the mid Atlantic and Carolinas while subsidence and dry air due to downsloping may be drawn SW around the "back side" of the low and into central and north Florida. Usually a very tight moisture gradient with an STS as opposed to a full warm core tropical system where the moisture is able to fully wrap around the system.


Or I guess I should have said from the NW around the low and then SW into the center.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:


Yes, and for a longer duration but there will also be lots of heavy rain in Florida as well.


Not necessarily, the gradient between the strong high to the north and the developing STS will feed the tropical moisture into the mid Atlantic and Carolinas while subsidence and dry air due to downsloping may be drawn SW around the "back side" of the low and into central and north Florida. Usually a very tight moisture gradient with an STS as opposed to a full warm core tropical system where the moisture is able to fully wrap around the system.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS shows the hybrid low has not transition as yet. Notice the 200 mb center is further northwest than the surface center which indicates 1) the cyclone is vertically tilted and 2) it tilts NW (tilts into a colder airmass aloft).



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting StormW:
NOGAPS: NOt Good At Predicting Systems


???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
96

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12z GFS 24 hours:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting help4u:
Patrap sorry you fill that way but god is at work alaways.Job was a great example.Will say a prayer for you.Hope you have a great day.


it's hardly that he "feels that way" It's that that's the way it is to imply God is at work in this is blasphemous
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Satellite images are now beginning to verify the models

12Z GFS +6 hrs



Versus

Satellite imagery



These images are valid a few hrs apart
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Jeff9641:


NE FL next week looks to be a potential Alex in the making target!


Remember with any STS, while the center of the storm itself may have the lowest pressure the rain and wind is well displaced to the north and east. This is why the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas will most likely be impacted the greatest by "Alex".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
yep
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting eddye:
se fl will get it


You wouldn't happen to live in SE FL would you?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
se fl will get it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:


NE FL next week looks to be a potential Alex in the making target!


you are getting way ahead of yourself, no need to start a panic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Patrap sorry you fill that way but god is at work alaways.Job was a great example.Will say a prayer for you.Hope you have a great day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
La Nina is not wasting time comming.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z NAM... it would be good if this solution materializes. Rains are always welcomed to keep the island green and lovely. Things tend to dry quite fast in dry islands (with no high tops, rivers or rain forests).

Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6641
Here is my outlook for this years potentially deadly Hurricane Season. Tracks with percentage based on past Neutral years, water temps, low wind shear and low SAL...



A a bit of a larger image where you can read the words, here's the link
2010 Hurricane Season Outlook
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
repost from last blog

So haven't seen the loop current recently- I knew about the eddy to the NE of the loop currrent, but not the one further south.

Question - It appears that the 2nd, newer eddy may be doing two things:
A) returning some (50% ?)of the flow of the loop current back towards the southwest, and;
B) Increasing the speed at which the current flows towards the southwest, due to two "gears" flowing in opposite directions, thus compressing the current and speeding it up.

My questions are:

Because some of the warm water is being re-routed back into the loop, is it possible that this will increase the overall temperature of the loop current itself? If the base temperature of the surrounding water is warmer, does this not mean that the temperature of the loop current will be higher as well?

Also - Because there appears to be a very quick current from approx 26N moving southwesterly, and at near purpendicular(sp*) to the northward flowing side, is there any possibility that the entire northern half of the loop current can be "sliced" off? In other words, if the 2nd eddy has enough water moving at 90 degrees (angle, not temp) to the other current, can that current force the loop current to take a track that goes from west to east, and (temporarily) skips the "loop"? If so, what would happen to the massive loop that was sliced off? Would it be the equivalent of a super-sized eddy?

I'd like to see what you guys think on this - I intentionally left out the oil spill, as that is a whole new ballgame if any of what I said is possible. Feel free to post on that if ya like.

Dr. M, StormW, 456, Levi - thanks in advance for your responses if you get the chance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


they said when they stuck the straw in there that it was a 20% solution. so if they are collecting 210,000 gallons/day, then simply solve for x.

210,000/.20 = x

x = 1,050,000 gallons/day

oh, but they have no way of knowing what a better estimate might be.


Actually I recall them saying they were hoping for a 50 to 60 % solution, the 20% was for day one, and now they say it is performing better than expected...let's pray that is the case huh?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Haiti Relief Recap
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Go figure..






BP concedes more oil spilling into Gulf than first estimated

BP conceded Thursday that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana's wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive monthlong spill.


...Ugh.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:
It had a confirmed tornado in it, and traffic was backed up on the road. We were near the back of the line and it the wind started blowing us off the road and the hail was close to golfball sized.
that's the kind of anecdote that keeps from ever wanting to join that circus down there. i hope there aren't too many clogging our roads when MN gets it's couple shots. this season's footage of chaser traffic is the realization of my fears post Twister. i miss the days of being the crazy loner going towards something everyone is hiding from...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The CSTARS satellite images have given perspective to what seemed unfathomable...
the spill looks to be at least 5 times the size of Lake Pontchartrain.

God help us.

https://www.cstars.miami.edu/Media/photo-gallery?func=detail&id=195
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Go figure..






BP concedes more oil spilling into Gulf than first estimated

BP conceded Thursday that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana's wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive monthlong spill.

Gee, who would a thunk it. BP D'oh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 81 - 31

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Dunham Lake Sunset
Carrot Nose in Danger
Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto