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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Quoting hydrus:
Looked bad on the radar for that area.


Yes it does..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WaterWitch11:
anyone know why these tornadoes keep on straight lining across? i don't know the tech name for it.


The Tornadoes and Severe T-Storms in IL, IN, OH are moving E at 40MH, ahead of a cold front. There is a large tongue of warm, humid air over these areas and a strong cold front to the west and the Polar Jet is shooting extra energy into this area, causing wind shear and the rotating supercells and rotation even in the squall line over C IL.

The tornadoes in MI are ahead of the warm front, the warm humid air is being forced up and over the cooler surface air, causing a large area of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes..
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000
NWUS53 KLOT 060357
LSRLOT

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
1057 PM CDT SAT JUN 05 2010

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

1055 PM TORNADO ST. ANNE 41.02N 87.72W
06/05/2010 KANKAKEE IL TRAINED SPOTTER

HOUSE DESTROYED AT INTERSECTION 3795S AND 6000E


&&

$$

ACS
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
2802. hydrus
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
NWR KZZ-58 Off the Air

NOAA Weather Radio Channel KZZ-58 from Kankakee is off the air due to technical difficulties. Technicians are looking into the problem and we hope to have it fixed very quickly.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.

Thats what im getting from Kankakee site.. Thats no good!
Looked bad on the radar for that area.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
2801. Makoto1
...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN CALHOUN...
NORTHEASTERN KALAMAZOO...SOUTHEASTERN BARRY AND SOUTHWESTERN EATON
COUNTIES UNTIL 1215 AM EDT...

AT 1151 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. AT
1148 PM SPOTTERS REPORTED A FUNNEL CLOUD NEAR GALESBURG.
THIS STORM
WAS MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2800. MrsOsa
Quoting CaneWarning:
As usual, WU is the best place to get good information. I don't know why I bother with other forms of media anymore.


I don't. Couldn't tell you when the last time I watched anyone else for tropics updates. May hits and I start lurking in this blog daily.
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2799. hydrus
Quoting WaterWitch11:
anyone know why these tornadoes keep on straight lining across? i don't know the tech name for it.
Training?
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
I just heard the Elmwood Tornado was a wedge tornado via Link; Streator and dwight also reporting extensive damage, with people trapped in their homes and neighborhoods leveled.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting MrstormX:


Wow, you know the area well then.


I've driven every road in the region more times than I could count over the last 30 years. I have friends in Peoria, Normal and all around Champaign. The wife's family leaves West and South of Chi-town.
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2796. Makoto1
Quoting MrsOsa:
Delete your cookies so you have more room. Can do that through your internet settings I believe.


Thank you, I managed to find it with a search in my computer, it's working a lot better now.
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Sleepy time... Everyone stay safe out there!
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NWR KZZ-58 Off the Air

NOAA Weather Radio Channel KZZ-58 from Kankakee is off the air due to technical difficulties. Technicians are looking into the problem and we hope to have it fixed very quickly.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.

Thats what im getting from Kankakee site.. Thats no good!
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I gonna go to bed. Have a safe night everyone!

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Brand New News Article out Link
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
2790. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting SiestaCpl:


I'm listening to Bloomington Radio. My wife was born in Chicago Heights. My Grandparents had their entire neighborhood destroyed by a tornado in 1967 in Hometown IL near Cicero.


Wow, you know the area well then.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
As usual, WU is the best place to get good information. I don't know why I bother with other forms of media anymore.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Well this is vague about the Peoria tornado


That was one of the nastiest radar presentations ive seen in a while, thankfully it looks like the urban area has been spared from major damage. But the rural areas and suburbs were hit hard.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
anyone know why these tornadoes keep on straight lining across? i don't know the tech name for it.
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2785. MrsOsa
Delete your cookies so you have more room. Can do that through your internet settings I believe.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Im in Homewood, IL south of Chicago. But im hearing the live stream from Peoria online.


I'm listening to Bloomington Radio. My wife was born in Chicago Heights. My Grandparents had their entire neighborhood destroyed by a tornado in 1967 in Hometown IL near Cicero.
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2763. CaneWarning 3:45 AM GMT on June 06, 2010
I can't find anybody covering this. I find no mention on the front page of CNN or on TWC.

you won't find anyone covering it cause it's the weekend. remember news only happens Mon-Fri.
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2781. Makoto1
Quoting KoritheMan:


It could mean that your cookies have expired.


How would I fix that then?
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Ashkum wow, I have been there before a scary thought.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting Bordonaro:

At night???? There are 20 counties under tornado warnings, reports of a large tornado in Ashkom, IL and quite frankly, the moderator on severestudios.com is calling off the warnings faster than I can type. Link:

Link


one of the deadliest tornadoes in the past few years occurred at 2AM in Evansville, Indiana and killed 22 people
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2778. hydrus
Quoting MrsOsa:
I'm going to take a second to just give props to this website and blog. I get the best and most up to date weather information (of all kinds) from here WAY before TWC or even any of our local stations pick up on it.

I think Dr.Masters would appreciate your post very much. This blog has best people and links to other great sights.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
Quoting SiestaCpl:


Sorry, where are you located?


Im in Homewood, IL south of Chicago. But im hearing the live stream from Peoria online.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting Makoto1:


Well then something's probably wrong on my end... I might mostly lurk since it's doing this now. If I hear anything new I'll post it though, I've got my eye on these tornadoes.


It could mean that your cookies have expired.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND RAPIDS MI
1133 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAND RAPIDS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN KALAMAZOO COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN...
SOUTHERN VAN BUREN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN...

* UNTIL 1215 AM EDT

* AT 1128 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
DANGEROUS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR WATERVLIET...AND MOVING EAST AT 50
MPH.

THE WARNING INCLUDES AREAS SURROUNDING THESE LOCATIONS...
KALAMAZOO... DECATUR... PAW PAW...
SCHOOLCRAFT... PORTER TWP... MCDONALD...
LAWRENCE... LAWTON... KEELER...
MATTAWAN... HARTFORD... OSHTEMO...
GALESBURG... FULTON... PORTAGE...
CLIMAX... VICKSBURG... HAMILTON TWP...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING OBJECTS.
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2773. Makoto1
Quoting taco2me61:
no problems here.... all working good at the moment...

Taco:o)


Well then something's probably wrong on my end... I might mostly lurk since it's doing this now. If I hear anything new I'll post it though, I've got my eye on these tornadoes.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Yah, Illinois... its on WMBD


Sorry, where are you located?
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Quoting tornadodude:


i wouldnt go that far, Illinois and Indiana see quite a few tornadoes, just saying

At night???? There are 20 counties under tornado warnings, reports of a large tornado in Ashkom, IL and quite frankly, the moderator on severestudios.com is calling off the warnings faster than I can type. Link:

Link
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Quoting SiestaCpl:


Where are located? In the Midwest?


Yah, Illinois... its on WMBD
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting GatorWX:


I agree, this area gets as many tornadoes as anywhere else, but not the typical lone supercell storms the plains get and not as many extreme tornadoes. I lived in Indiana for some time and they are very keen about tornadoes.


where did you live?
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Quoting MrstormX:
Woman in town says there are brick buildings damaged in Elmwood, power lines down, major gas leak and all people must go to High School.


Where are located? In the Midwest?
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2767. GatorWX
Quoting tornadodude:


i wouldnt go that far, Illinois and Indiana see quite a few tornadoes, just saying


I agree, this area gets as many tornadoes as anywhere else, but not the typical lone supercell storms the plains get and not as many extreme tornadoes. I lived in Indiana for some time and they are very keen about tornadoes.
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Woman in town says there are brick buildings damaged in Elmwood, power lines down, major gas leak and all people must go to High School.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting TropicalWave:
excellent read, xcool, i loved it. hey dan, keep it up, because remember that arguments will always equal bans in here, your digging up your own grave.


HMMMM I made a statement, there was no argument involved. If you wish to try getting me banned, feel free. And if you're so new, how would you know that?
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I can't find anybody covering this. I find no mention on the front page of CNN or on TWC.
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2762. hydrus
Quoting tornadodude:


i wouldnt go that far, Illinois and Indiana see quite a few tornadoes, just saying
I was going to post the same thing. Some of the worst tornadoes ever recorded were in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20536
I just heard on WGN there are twin tornadoes on the ground near Kankakee, Il.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting Makoto1:
Is anyone else having trouble with getting logged out of the site randomly? I can't refresh the page anymore without it signing me off.
no problems here.... all working good at the moment...

Taco:o)
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Hopkins park is a really poor, mainly rural african-american farming town I fear for them. They might not be prepared.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting Bordonaro:

This is a very DANGEROUS situation! These folks rarely see tornadoes, it is almost Midnight, and there are about 20 counties under Tornado Warnings!!!!


i wouldnt go that far, Illinois and Indiana see quite a few tornadoes, just saying
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2757. Ossqss
Are you all ready for this type of thing? I was kinda taken back a bit! Kinda like an electronic Hurricane! How will this kinda thing impact you? It is coming..... read it from NASA for yourself..... No internet access

Just sayin :) Do you have an alternate plan /??????

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather

L8R >>>
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2756. Makoto1
Is anyone else having trouble with getting logged out of the site randomly? I can't refresh the page anymore without it signing me off.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.