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 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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Quoting Hurricanes101:
It clearly does not take a major hurricane to cause major problems


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).
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I found that report while trying to find a comprehensive list of Maine tornadoes---but I couldn't find such a list--not quickly anyway.

I did run across one list but the site triggered an attack site warning, so I'm not posting that one.


Ahh here is a good one:

Link
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I think he was talking about as far as a hurricane or major hurricane.But who in the world would want those knocking at your door step???.I would'nt becuase when the storm is over I'll know my life would never be thw same.


I guess they call them trolls for a reason, especially ones that have had what 4 names since the last month?
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Quoting Chicklit:


Great, a rainy weekend. Is this a low that is perched over Florida or is there something else?
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2101. IKE
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I think he was talking about as far as a hurricane or major hurricane.But who in the world would want those knocking at your door step???.I would'nt becuase when the storm is over I'll know my life would never be thw same.


Get use to it on this blog with a few of the "wishcasters".
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Quoting ElConando:


Opal 1995?

And Erin that same year.

The most significant damage from the second landfall in Florida was near Pensacola, where Erin made landfall, and Navarre Beach, where almost one-third of buildings suffered major damage.
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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...


Jeanne was a major hurricane when it hit the East coast

Also Frances moving so slowly certain gave her the impact of a major as well
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
5 years?

2008 was only 2 years ago, many areas in Central Florida were underwater after Fay and people lost everything. There are still people who are recovering from the Hurricanes of 2004 and 2005

Sorry but 5 years is nowhere near a long enough break for people in Florida or anywhere along the coast for that matter

But again considering who you are, I am not surprised by your reaction
I think he was talking about as far as a hurricane or major hurricane.But who in the world would want those knocking at your door step???.I would'nt becuase when the storm is over I'll know my life would never be thw same.
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Quoting ElConando:


Opal 1995?


East to West; Opal hit the panhandle. I would say Frances and Jeanne were basically both major hurricanes when they hit; Frances hung around long enough, her impacts were that of a major storm.

either way this stupid comparison based on strength is ridiculous though. Fay was insignificant compared to the storms in 2004? Really?

Tell that to the people who lost everything because of the flooding Fay caused.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I found that report while trying to find a comprehensive list of Maine tornadoes---but I couldn't find such a list--not quickly anyway.

I did run across one list but the site triggered an attack site warning, so I'm not posting that one.


I'd imagine NCDC or The Tornado History Project has a pretty good list.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting masonsnana:
I don't see it, can someone please point it out for these old eyes
about 21n 94 west maybe that area
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Thank you, State. Yet another blogger proves my point. Be careful, guys, expressing those levels of sentiments in here, might get you attacked by some of the other bloggers, :).
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2090. Dr3w
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...


Hurricane Jeanne was a Category 3 and hit the East Coast of Florida
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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...


Opal 1995?
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Looks like that Maine tornado is going right over Lewiston, which last I checked is a pretty major town.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Evening, Adrian. Exactly, thank you very much, I rest my case. Let's hope our good luck continues, going into this year as well, Hurricane23, :).
2085. xcool
"I did a lot of home work on new orleans history After Snow If You Know What I Mean'
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
5 years?

2008 was only 2 years ago, many areas in Central Florida were underwater after Fay and people lost everything. There are still people who are recovering from the Hurricanes of 2004 and 2005

Sorry but 5 years is nowhere near a long enough break for people in Florida or anywhere along the coast for that matter

But again considering who you are, I am not surprised by your reaction


You, know who I am? That'll be the day. Fay was an insignificant spec compared to the canes from 04 and 05.
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
CHARACTERISTICS OF RECENT NORTHERN NEW
ENGLAND TORNADOES


That looks like an interesting read.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Any thought, just for the heck of it, on that little spin around 30 west and near 8n. Some convection and a little spin.
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It clearly does not take a major hurricane to cause major problems
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Quoting xcool:
sarahjola .yeah & i'm watch too
I don't see it, can someone please point it out for these old eyes
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Florida in general besides fays flooding rains/gusty winds in 08 has not seen a major reach our shores since 2005.
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2076. xcool
sarahjola .yeah & i'm watch too
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All this rain in Wisconsin is actually a really good thing, it should help with the drought problems there.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
haven't seen any spin in that convection all day and am starting to see it now. an erika, blow up at night fall apart in the day
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2073. IKE



No Development Over the Weekend
Jun 5, 2010 5:10 PM

The Atlantic basin looks to remain quiet, at least into the beginning of next week. There are several very weak waves well to the south, around 10 north. Looking out over the next few days, there looks to be no development with any of these waves. The Gulf and the Caribbean will remain relatively inactive outside of typical daytime thunderstorm activity.

By AccuWeather.com Meteorologists Adam Douty and Andy Mussoline
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5 years?

2008 was only 2 years ago, many areas in Central Florida were underwater after Fay and people lost everything. There are still people who are recovering from the Hurricanes of 2004 and 2005

Sorry but 5 years is nowhere near a long enough break for people in Florida or anywhere along the coast for that matter

But again considering who you are, I am not surprised by your reaction
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Quoting xcool:
it looks as though there may be some spin in the boc aoi
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2070. Dr3w
Quoting MrstormX:
In my opinion Fay should have been retired, what a storm.


yeah you are deffinitly right, only storm to ever make 4 landfalls in one state
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I am sure he was addressing the troll.


Im not sure, but Maine tornadoes are pretty rare when compared to most over states. This is probably catching the NWS offices of guard up there.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
2068. xcool
TropicalWave yeah ;)~~~~
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2067. BDAwx
what do we think about the moderately sheared area around 22N 58W? I think it kinda looks ok.
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2066. xcool
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Hey there, Mr. X, your back.
Quoting Hurricanes101:
What break has Florida had?

Fay ruined many peoples lives in 2008 as well.

After seasons like 2004 and 2005, the states affected need a long break, like 10 to 20 years to get things back to the way they were before the storms and even then they will never be the same


Your reaction to that makes me sick, how you cold want a storm to hit is beyond me

Then again I am not surprised considering who you are and all.


The last 5 years, go do the HW for yourself.
Quoting Ameister12:

Yes it is.


Thanks for some reason Im having trouble connecting to the nws site right now.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Hurricanes101:
What break has Florida had?

Fay ruined many peoples lives in 2008 as well.

After seasons like 2004 and 2005, the states affected need a long break, like 10 to 20 years to get things back to the way they were before the storms and even then they will never be the same


Your reaction to that makes me sick, how you cold want a storm to hit is beyond me

Then again I am not surprised considering who you are and all.
Were you talking about me??.I said florida needs a break.I never knew it would affend people.
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2059. xcool


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Quoting Hurricanes101:
What break has Florida had?

Fay ruined many peoples lives in 2008 as well.

After seasons like 2004 and 2005, the states affected need a long break, like 10 to 20 years to get things back to the way they were before the storms and even then they will never be the same


Your reaction to that makes me sick, how you cold want a storm to hit is beyond me

Then again I am not surprised considering who you are and all.


Just ignore them please and move on. Its best to let it go.
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In my opinion Fay should have been retired, what a storm.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting MrstormX:
Imm seeing a tornado on radar in Maine, does anyone know if this storm is warned.


Yes it is.

TORNADO WARNING
MEC001-017-052200-
/O.NEW.KGYX.TO.W.0001.100605T2116Z-100605T2200Z/

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

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAY MAINE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL ANDROSCOGGIN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MAINE...
EASTERN OXFORD COUNTY IN WESTERN MAINE...

* UNTIL 600 PM EDT

* AT 510 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR
PARIS...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
HEBRON AND GREENE.

OXFORD COUNTY SHERIFF REPORTS SIGHTING A FUNNEL CLOUD WITH THIS
STORM AND VERY LARGE HAIL...NEAR THE SIZE OF GOLFBALLS. THIS IS A
VERY DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU LIVE IN PARIS...OR IN A LOCATION OVER
SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF BUCKFIELD AND NORTHERN PORTIONS OF
HEBRON...TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

PLEASE REPORT A TORNADO...HAIL OR STRONG WINDS TO THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE BY CALLING TOLL FREE...1-877-633-6772...WHEN YOU CAN
DO SO SAFELY.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM EDT SATURDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHWESTERN MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

&&

LAT...LON 4422 7007 4409 7013 4423 7057 4427 7053
TIME...MOT...LOC 2114Z 286DEG 34KT 4424 7048

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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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