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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1856. scott39
My son and I went fishing at Cedar Point pier last night at Dauphin Island . Thankfully, the oil hasnt gotten on that side yet. The fish werent biting that well,but it was a relief we still are able to go fishing there for now!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6857
http://www.fox10tv.com/generic/news/gulf_oil_spill/oil-bp-rov-live-stream-cams

This site is showing all 12 cameras at once.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"People only see what they are prepared to see."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think that quote will sum up the rest of June.
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1853. leo305
Quoting MrstormX:


Which is what the GFS 850mb model is suggesting, maybe not with this current convection but another burst could do it.



so you are telling me it's going to go from a weak mid level swirl to a chaotic potentially Tropical storm strength surface circulation in 12-18 hours?
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Considering that pottery's calabash has maintained a 20year record of infallibility in predicting the beginning of rainy season, maybe the mangos also know more than we think.
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Quoting extreme236:


Yup. Today has been one of the most humid days of the year here.


Tornado wise, one can't rule out the possibility of a unexpected outbreak like the one on April 20, 2004.
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Quoting pottery:

Could be.


Negative guys....valves not yet closed...slow and steady is the principle here, don't want to spoil the little success we have so far.
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1849. hydrus
Quoting SLU:



yeh i've been thinking about that too
I believe the Lesser Antilles have a high risk of a strike this year. And with all that warm water, it most likely will be a major hurricane.jmo
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Quoting MrstormX:


Its only going to get worse as mid-day heating, and instability combine to create more storms.


Yup. Today has been one of the most humid days of the year here.
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Quoting extreme236:


Yeah, so far most of the severe action has been in NE Ohio (I live in SW Ohio) but a severe thunderstorm warning was just issued for my county. Looks like a stormy night.


Its only going to get worse as mid-day heating, and instability combine to create more storms. Not a good day
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Quoting MrstormX:


Wow I hope you guys stay safe, in Illinois we have the potential as well. It seems anywhere south of Interstate 80 from Pennsylvania through Iowa needs to be prepared.


Yeah, so far most of the severe action has been in NE Ohio (I live in SW Ohio) but a severe thunderstorm warning was just issued for my county. Looks like a stormy night.
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Here is a new one:


603
WFUS51 KCLE 051833
TORCLE
OHC075-051900-
/O.NEW.KCLE.TO.W.0021.100605T1833Z-100605T1900Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
233 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN HOLMES COUNTY IN NORTHEAST OHIO

* UNTIL 300 PM EDT

* AT 227 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS STORM
HAS HAD A HISTORY OF A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS STORM WAS LOCATED
NEAR HOLMESVILLE...AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BERLIN...
WALNUT CREEK...
WINESBURG...
FARMERSTOWN...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. IF NO
BASEMENT IS AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR CLOSET.
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1844. Levi32
Forecast for the next 30 days:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting extreme236:


Yeah we have some nasty weather coming in for most of Ohio this evening and overnight.


Wow I hope you guys stay safe, in Illinois we have the potential as well. It seems anywhere south of Interstate 80 from Pennsylvania through Iowa needs to be prepared.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well stormwatcherCI how are you I ca't wait fpr those tropical waves to come we need the rain badly what do you think
Praying for it too. We are desperate.
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1841. SLU
Quoting stoormfury:
SLU
the year 1960 was almost as hot. that year we in St Lucia was struck by hurricane ABBY onthe the 12th of july. what is coincidental and i will not put much attention to is the fact both in 1960 and now in 2010 there seems to be a bumber mango crop. if i were superstitious i would say beware



yeh i've been thinking about that too
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if anyone wants a very cool sat of africa and surrounding coastal areas well here

Link
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Quoting winter123:


It looks like it's just going to slam into the gulf coast tomorrow anyway? So why are we even considering development. Just that bored? I am a blob watcher but even I know when to draw the line.


Im just stating things observed by the GFS, and satellite presentation. Its something interesting to watch, cyclonic or not. I don't consider myself to be wishcasting, or downcasting i'm just preparing for the unexpected.
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1838. SLU
Quoting pottery:

Must be Global Warmi...aaacckk, coffcoff, gag...whew, sorry, almos' choked to death there.



lol ... el nino has a part to play too?
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Quoting MrstormX:

998
WFUS51 KCLE 051830
TORCLE
OHC155-051915-
/O.NEW.KCLE.TO.W.0020.100605T1830Z-100605T1915Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
230 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHWESTERN TRUMBULL COUNTY IN NORTHEAST OHIO

* UNTIL 315 PM EDT

* AT 227 PM EDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED A TORNADO NORTHWEST OF NEWTON
FALLS...OR 9 MILES WEST OF WARREN. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS STORM
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 15 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SOUTH CANAL...
NEWTON FALLS...
TURNPIKE INTERCHANGE...
LORDSTOWN...
WARREN...
BOLINDALE...
MINERAL RIDGE...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. IF NO
BASEMENT IS AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR CLOSET.


Yeah we have some nasty weather coming in for most of Ohio this evening and overnight.
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1836. pottery
Quoting pottery:

Maybe you need a Remote for her, Taz! LOL

Actually, my Mother-in-Law is very sweet.
When she is Remote....

(j/k)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24373
1835. Patrap


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128621
1833. xcool
Link


new ecwmf
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Patrap:
CNN BP Live Feed

looks worse to me
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998
WFUS51 KCLE 051830
TORCLE
OHC155-051915-
/O.NEW.KCLE.TO.W.0020.100605T1830Z-100605T1915Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
230 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHWESTERN TRUMBULL COUNTY IN NORTHEAST OHIO

* UNTIL 315 PM EDT

* AT 227 PM EDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED A TORNADO NORTHWEST OF NEWTON
FALLS...OR 9 MILES WEST OF WARREN. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS STORM
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 15 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SOUTH CANAL...
NEWTON FALLS...
TURNPIKE INTERCHANGE...
LORDSTOWN...
WARREN...
BOLINDALE...
MINERAL RIDGE...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. IF NO
BASEMENT IS AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR CLOSET.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:
Just because there is no convection with the BOC blob right now, doesn't mean it won't spin some back up.



It looks like it's just going to slam into the gulf coast tomorrow anyway? So why are we even considering development. Just that bored? I am a blob watcher but even I know when to draw the line.
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1829. xcool
cmc shows some life


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting pottery:

LOOK, A MANGO- CASTER!!
heheheheh

But yeah, big crop here too. I put it down to the bad dry season, and the trees 'fighting back', but you may have something there.

" I talk to the trees,
But they dont listen to me..."
Here too and Baha said in the Bahamas too.
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1827. pottery
Quoting sarahjola:
why has bp's cam been down? i know it was down yesterday too.

They up, on CNN.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24373
Quoting xcool:
I GOT BEST Satellite IMAGE FOR África.SO COOL...opps caps lock sorry
post link so we can all see. please...
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1825. Patrap
CNN BP Live Feed
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128621
any way guys my forecast numbers for the season is now 18-20 named 10-15 hurricanes and 7-8 majors
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Quoting Levi32:
The gulf is continuing to get hotter and hotter.



Its like a little hot tub out there.
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why has bp's cam been down? i know it was down yesterday too.
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1821. pottery
Quoting Tazmanian:
now where did i put my Ignore for my mother in law



lol dont have a mother in law butam this kinding a round

Maybe you need a Remote for her, Taz! LOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24373
1820. xcool
I GOT BEST Satellite IMAGE FOR África.SO COOL...opps caps lock sorry
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
1819. Levi32
The gulf is continuing to get hotter and hotter.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
The blob in the gulf is showing that despite its lack of convection, it can maintain its shape even in shear. What that indicates to me, is the possibility of another burst of convection in the coming hours, cyclonic or not it could be interesting to watch.
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1817. pottery
Quoting Clearwater1:


Maybe they did close the valves and the result is what you see on the live feed.

Could be.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24373
now where did i put my Ignore for my mother in law



lol dont have a mother in law butam this kinding a round
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


On his radio show Tuesday I think he said 15-8-5.



i think his forcast is a little too low
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1814. xcool
Disturbed weather is moving into the gulf now, but I cant see any organization,. However there was a mid level disturbance yesterday so we have to watch to see if it can try to come back over the gulf today.


by joe b
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting largeeyes:
Now it's over the weekend? I wonder what's keepin 'em from closing the valves.


Maybe they did close the valves and the result is what you see on the live feed.
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oh I love that pic Orcasystems can't wait for it I am liike a camel with out water and can't get any
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1811. Patrap
"Wave Fever..
Aint nuthin like it Like the Swirly stuff"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128621
1810. xcool
TropicalWave hello sir
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
I see the GFS from last night is hinting on development off of Africa after the 10th but has the low moving into south America . But i guess we have to wait to see if there is some consistency to it .Link
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1808. pottery
Quoting atmoaggie:

They do seem a little fishy...

hahahahahahahhh Good one!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24373
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFL, your bad

Yeah, bad one...L8R, y'all.
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About

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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