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

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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

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1081. xcool
hey ....yeah
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Hey xcool long time no speak looks like we could have a little mischief in the caribean and the se coast next week.
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1079. xcool
:0
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TROPICS MIGHT START BEFORE JUNE 1ST

For those needing that just don't know! Goodnite again all and goodnite Xcool
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A word of caution for throwing these 144 hr models around...

1. The margin of error in models beyond 72hrs goes up exponentially, to the point at 144-180 hrs that you often have to name a coastline of multiple states to be safe.

2. Each year, different models do better than others, last year the GFS, EMCWF were the best. The cmc was called "constantly making cyclones" model. So since we are on a new year we have to decipher which are good and which are not so good models for this season.

3. This is a transitioning system, subtropical/tropical/ post-tropical (previously called extratropical). Models may have a rough time calculating these transitions and errors will be extrapolated in later hrs of the runs.
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1076. xcool
bye TampaSpin
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Good nite all......we should know probably by Sunday evening if we anything to worry about yet! Nite.
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1074. xcool
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1073. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1072. Patrap
eumetsat AFRICA
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1071. xcool
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1070. Patrap
GOES EAST FULL DISK
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1069. xcool
i'm use weathertap Enhanced Infrared Satellite update much better...
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1068. xcool
convective blow-up back up..
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1067. xcool

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1066. xcool



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hey guys please sat on the SW Carib post it
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1064. Patrap




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1063. xcool
wow SW Caribbean wowww
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Quoting JLPR:


Now Lenny, that was one crazy hurricane XD


Obviously...
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1061. xcool
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Convection is also starting to build in the SW Caribbean sea.. interesting.
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1059. Patrap



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1058. JLPR
Quoting CaribBoy:
00Z NOGAPS moves the possible caribbean storm more toward the ENE closer to Puerto Rico (begin to remind me hurricane OMAR in october 2008, or Lenny in 1999). Let's see what happens..


Now Lenny, that was one crazy hurricane XD
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1057. Levi32
0z NOGAPS 168 hours 10m wind:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
00Z NOGAPS moves the possible caribbean storm more toward the ENE closer to Puerto Rico (begin to remind me hurricane OMAR in october 2008, or Lenny in 1999). Let's see what happens..
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I am not convienced yet that anything in the Bahammas will develop yet but, the Deep Caribbean has a better chance with less Shear as this model shows development in that area.

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1054. Patrap
Quoting gordydunnot:
Good night Pat, hey 20% of our fishing in America is off limits today.But just remember globally this is not significant.WE can just get everything we need from Asia. Until they disagree with us.Then we can ask them for our clothes, technology. Thank God we still support our farmers even if they think they are independent. That said I see there is some much tropical weather around I digress.


The United Parishes of Louisiana will survive this too.

Like everything else.

Night' gordydunnot..

Viva Louisiana

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
Good night Pat, hey 20% of our fishing in America is off limits today.But just remember globally this is not significant.WE can just get everything we need from Asia. Until they disagree with us.Then we can ask them for our clothes, technology. Thank God we still support our farmers even if they think they are independent. That said I see there is some much tropical weather around I digress.
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1052. Patrap
21 Apr 2010 - 16z - Mississippi River Delta close up,The Rig Burns
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1051. Levi32
0z Canadian has finished its run. By 144 hours it really winds up the subtropical/tropical storm making landfall in South Carolina, moving very slowly near the coast on Wednesday next week. This TS on the model is likely around 60mph sustained winds, possibly more.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
1050. Patrap
17 May 2010 - 16z - Mississippi River Delta close up
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
Quoting Levi32:


Well it usually is at 1am eastern time lol. I hate being 4 hours behind everyone else....gets really boring. And then my updates in the morning are so dang late to you people in the east...lol.


lol Levi, well I am here and so area few others, so maybe we can have a mini chat for a bit
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 8078
1048. Patrap
Special Image ROSS 1

DeepwaterHorizon/MODIS.2010137.164239.A03.rgb
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
1047. xcool
lol
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1046. Levi32
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Interesting Levi

welcome back, been kind of slow in here the last few hours lol


Well it usually is at 1am eastern time lol. I hate being 4 hours behind everyone else....gets really boring. And then my updates in the morning are so dang late to you people in the east...lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
1045. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133335
Quoting Levi32:
0z Canadian 120 hours:



Interesting Levi

welcome back, been kind of slow in here the last few hours lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 8078
1043. xcool
so GFS AND CMC DO A LOOP ??? RIGHT..
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Fresh from the Press

Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
1041. Levi32
0z Canadian 120 hours:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
As it applies to the gulf spill, its a recession if your neighbor is unemployed it is a depression if you are. So I will say this to all of you whom try to minimize this tragedy in any respect. Guess what the communal response to your problem will be.You were probably responsible for what you get. Now I can go to sleep with out any feelings.
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so we may see 2 name strorms
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1038. xcool
reedzone thanks..
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Quoting xcool:
reedzone how may hour???


It forms after the Subtropical system forms, then eventually in the long range, both storms get squished into a Non-Tropical low and head out to sea.
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1036. ackee
anyone has a link to the latest UKMET model run
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1035. xcool
i'm give GFS B+ RIGHT NOWWW..
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Quoting TampaSpin:




Certainly not where most believed Development would be in the purple shaded area......LOL


yea Tampa, that map is really accounting for where the favorable conditions will be, shear is still too high across the NW Caribbean and Bahamas for anything to happen soon enough to be on that map.

Overall though, when you look at everything, the area near the Bahamas eventually will have a higher chance of development.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 8078
1033. xcool


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I certainly hope this does not happen cause it would bring all the Oil onto the Florida coastline.....

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1031. xcool
reedzone how may hour???
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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