Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 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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3956. Relix
Quoting JLPR2:


Yep, but at least the SAL has cleared out a little.


Hah! Two days ago I couldn't even watch the San Juan skyline clearly. At least SAL will be gone. Hopefully Tuesday will be clear, going to be visiting the Camuy Caves and then maybe just some ice skating in Aguadilla. Should be a fun ride.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Excuse me anybody.What were Drakeons numbers this year for storms to form.My computer will not let me open up the website.


20-22
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3953. xcool
TropicalWave lmao
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15625
That wave off Africa is embedded in the ITCZ, is it not?
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3950. IKE
Quoting stormhank:
What areas of gulf coast did all the experts say was at greatest risk this year for hurricanes?? I thought I saw a graph that had central and eastern gulf but I wasnt sure?


That's what I've seen too.
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3948. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


Really, there's this huge mixture of heat and humidity that is maddening. It's raining right now here in Levittown, but it's HOT HOT HOT HOT. Pure vapor.


Yep, but at least the SAL has cleared out a little.
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Quoting xcool:
TropicalWave STOP IT .tropical weather,only
Don't quote him, just ignore him and continue. He just comes to this blog to annoy and to bother and there is no need to contribute to that. I really respect you as a blogger unlike him so just ignore him.
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3945. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalWave:
No worries, XCool. Within a couple of hours from now, the only weather medium that he'll have access to, is gonna be having to watch that rideculous chief meteorologist woman, from the local Univision channel that they have, down there. LOL.


Well that was annoying -.-
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3943. Relix
Quoting JLPR2:


its sunny on my side XD
But yep, its hot.


Really, there's this huge mixture of heat and humidity that is maddening. It's raining right now here in Levittown, but it's HOT HOT HOT HOT. Pure vapor.

Also, didn't mean to insult people with REAL problems, my bad. Though JFV still stands as a big douche in my book. Of course, I am feeding the troll so i shall stop. My excuses.
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As said only 8 Storms by my prediction. Nothing happening yet despite good conditions. We will all be saying this July 4th weekend
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Quoting 850Realtor:


When can we expect that?


Well the Storm Prediction Center only has 30 percent rain chances for Biloxi and Mobile the next few days but if i would say over the next day or so some areas could get a good soaking
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL
327 PM CDT SUN JUN 6 2010

ILZ001-002-007-062145-
CARROLL-JO DAVIESS-STEPHENSON-
327 PM CDT SUN JUN 6 2010

...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WITH GUSTY WINDS...

AT 318 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 17 MILES NORTH OF
WINSLOW TO 7 MILES NORTH OF APPLE RIVER...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 40 MPH.
THIS LINE OF STORMS HAS PRODUCED A WIND GUST TO AROUND 45 MPH
NEAR MINERAL POINT WISCONSIN AT 253 PM.

* THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE NEAR...
WARREN AROUND 335 PM CDT...
WINSLOW AND NORA AROUND 340 PM CDT...
STOCKTON AROUND 345 PM CDT...
LENA AROUND 350 PM CDT...
PEARL CITY AND CEDARVILLE AROUND 400 PM CDT...
DAVIS...ROCK CITY AND DAKOTA AROUND 405 PM CDT...

PEA TO PENNY SIZE HAIL AND WINDS OF 40 TO 55 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED WITH
THESE STORMS.

GUSTY WINDS MAY CAUSE SMALL OBJECTS TO BLOW AROUND. SEEK SHELTER IN
A STURDY STRUCTURE UNTIL THE STORMS HAVE PASSED.

LAT...LON 4250 8941 4244 8939 4220 8940 4219 8941
4219 8968 4203 8969 4202 8971 4251 9017
TIME...MOT...LOC 2022Z 317DEG 33KT 4270 8977 4258 9007

$$
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What areas of gulf coast did all the experts say was at greatest risk this year for hurricanes?? I thought I saw a graph that had central and eastern gulf but I wasnt sure?
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Quoting xcool:
tropical ABOUT TO OPEN can whoop a----
If shear continues to be favorable, SSTs stay warm, and the ITCZ keeps cranking out waves, we could see up to 2 named storms this month.
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3936. JLPR2
Quoting biloxidaisy:


It is a direct link. Could the pic be too large?


Well you set the picture height and width after posting the link so I'm not sure, but maybe
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3935. EricSFL
Not that everybody cares, but I spent the latter part of the week at Marathon Key, FL.
The air temperature was around 94 F yet the water temperature even further from the shore was warmer than that. This is not normal so early in June.
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Quoting Relix:
At this point he just does it for some laughs or he's just a retard.

Please don't insult those with that condition...it's not their fault...
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Quoting IKE:


It's suppose to start drying out tomorrow...

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
327 PM CDT SUN JUN 6 2010

.SHORT TERM (TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT)...THE UPPER TROF/SHEAR
AXIS CURRENTLY ALONG THE GULF COAST PER THE WATER VAPOR LOOP SHIFTS
SOUTHWARD INTO THE GULF OVERNIGHT AS A COLD FRONT SEEN IN THE LATEST
SURFACE ANALYSIS ADVANCING INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI/ALABAMA
CONTINUES SOUTHWARD AND THROUGH THE FORECAST AREA.


They really should change that to "frontal system out of the north". Cold front just doesn't seem to be proper. LOL

Monday
Mostly sunny. Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 30 percent. Highest heat index readings around 105 in the afternoon.
ZIP Code Detail
nt_sunny
Monday Night
Mostly clear. Lows 68 to 73. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph becoming northeast after midnight.
sunny
Tuesday
Sunny. Highs in the mid 90s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
ZIP Code Detail
nt_sunny
Tuesday Night
Mostly clear. Lows 72 to 77. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
partlycloudy
Wednesday
Mostly sunny. Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs 91 to 96. Chance of precipitation 20 percent. Highest heat index readings around 105 in the afternoon.
ZIP Code Detail
nt_partlycloudy
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s.
partlycloudy
Thursday
Mostly sunny. Chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 90s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
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3932. xcool
TropicalWave STOP IT .tropical weather,only
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15625
3930. xcool
tropical ABOUT TO OPEN can whoop a----
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15625
Quoting JLPR2:


It has to be a direct link to the picture, like Http://...
and it has to be in the internet, no links from pictures on the computer, besides that I dont see any other inconveniences


It is a direct link. Could the pic be too large?
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3927. IKE
I see the front on visible satellite racing south/SE.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
a great window is about to open
Exactly! Everyone always reads those maps wrong.
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3925. IKE
Quoting PcolaDan:


Kind of weird how it's been acting. Been coming off the water last few days. Next thing I know I got a storm headed at me from Mobile. Split apart, but still weird.


It's suppose to start drying out tomorrow...

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
327 PM CDT SUN JUN 6 2010

.SHORT TERM (TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT)...THE UPPER TROF/SHEAR
AXIS CURRENTLY ALONG THE GULF COAST PER THE WATER VAPOR LOOP SHIFTS
SOUTHWARD INTO THE GULF OVERNIGHT AS A COLD FRONT SEEN IN THE LATEST
SURFACE ANALYSIS ADVANCING INTO NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI/ALABAMA
CONTINUES SOUTHWARD AND THROUGH THE FORECAST AREA.
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3923. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
They won't be the problom.The trolls will.


true, but you should've seen the discussion last week.
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Quoting IKE:
The line through the panhandle of Florida just nailed me for 2 1/2 inches of heavy rain.

Turn the faucet off for a few days. TIA!



Kind of weird how it's been acting. Been coming off the water last few days. Next thing I know I got a storm headed at me from Mobile. Split apart, but still weird.
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3921. IKE
Quoting stormhank:
rain missed us here IKE .. im east of you near marianna area


I see that...it's a broken line, and it's moving very slowly to the ESE. I got unlucky and got under a heavy thunderstorm for about an hour.
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rain missed us here IKE .. im east of you near marianna area
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3918. Grothar
Quoting biloxidaisy:
What is the trick to posting a pic? I put a link in for the image, but all I get on preview is a red X..


You have to click on the Image icon until it appears in the tab on top, then keep clicking until it appears in the dialogue box on the bottom.
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3917. IKE
The line through the panhandle of Florida just nailed me for 2 1/2 inches of heavy rain.

Turn the faucet off for a few days. TIA!

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Quoting louisianaboy444:
850mb Vorticity and Lower level Winds show a broad area of low pressure that will bring heavy rains to New Orleans, Bioxi, and Mobile, and the Florida Panhandle....Don't think it will become tropical though


When can we expect that?
Member Since: September 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 283
3914. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Which will open the gate to hell.Soon as that shear lets down all hell may break out.All hell will also break out on the blog.


Especially if TampaSpin, Drakoen, 456, and Levi are on at the same time.
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3913. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:
Oh my god... JFV is back. Wow, guy seriously has no life. At this point he just does it for some laughs or he's just a retard.

Anyway, with that aside, that wave looks interesting. Tracking too much to the south though. It's hot and humid here in PR, raining a bit now thought. Some t-storms as well.


its sunny on my side XD
But yep, its hot.
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3912. xcool
Relix STOP PLZ ...THANKS..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15625
3910. xcool
LMAO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15625
3908. EricSFL
What (if any) models are supporting the wave at 35W?
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3907. IKE
I've had 2.67 inches of rain today, bringing my total in June to 5.99 inches.
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3906. JLPR2
Quoting biloxidaisy:
What is the trick to posting a pic? I put a link in for the image, but all I get on preview is a red X..


It has to be a direct link to the picture, like Http://...
and it has to be in the internet, no links from pictures on the computer, besides that I dont see any other inconveniences
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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.