93L slow to develop, but bringing heavy rains to Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:50 PM GMT on June 22, 2010

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A modest region of intense thunderstorms (Invest 93L) is over the central Caribbean, a few hundred miles south of Hispaniola. This disturbance has the best chance to become Tropical Storm Alex of any system we've seen so far this year. We don't have any buoys near 93L, but pressures at the ground stations surrounding the storm are not falling. A pass of the ASCAT satellite over the Central Caribbean at 9:45 pm EDT last night revealed a modest wind shift associated with 93L, but nothing at all close to a surface circulation. Top surface winds seen by ASCAT were 15 - 20 mph. Water vapor satellite loops show that 93L is embedded in a large region of moist air. The atmosphere over the Caribbean has moistened over the past day, which should aid development of 93L. Wind shear is a low 5 - 10 knots. The high wind shear associated with the strong winds of the subtropical jet stream are over the northern Caribbean, too far north to interfere with development, but close enough to provide good upper-level outflow for the storm. Visible satellite loops show high level cirrus clouds streaming away from 93L to the northeast, evidence of the upper-level outflow channel that is developing to the storm's north. Sea Surface Temperatures are plenty warm, a record 29 - 30°C. The Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) currently favors upward motion over the Caribbean, which will act to increase the chances of tropical storm formation this week. The Madden-Julian oscillation is a pattern of enhanced rainfall that travels along the Equator from west to east. The pattern has a wet phase with large-scale rising air and enhanced thunderstorm activity, followed by a dry phase with large-scale sinking air and suppressed thunderstorm activity. Each cycle lasts approximately 30 - 60 days. When the Madden-Julian oscillation is in its wet phase over a hurricane-prone region, the chances for tropical storm activity are greatly increased. The main negative for 93L continues to be lack of spin. The University of Wisconsin 850 mb relative vorticity analysis is showing that spin at 850 mb (roughly 5,000 feet in altitude) has increased over the past day, but 93L needs to acquire additional spin before it can grow more organized. I speculate that it is this lack of spin that contributed to the loss of much of 93L's heavy thunderstorm activity last night. The storm is now going through a cycle where it is building another respectable mass of heavy thunderstorms, and the increased inflow of low-level air that will feed these thunderstorms will likely enhance 93L's spin today. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate 93L on Wednesday afternoon.


Figure 1. Morning visible satellite image of the central Caribbean disturbance 93L.

Forecast for 93L
NHC is giving 93L a 40% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday morning, which is a reasonable forecast. Given the storm's current lack of spin and relatively modest amount of heavy thunderstorms, the earliest I'd expect 93L to become a tropical depression would be Wednesday afternoon, with Thursday more likely. Wind shear is expected to be low, less than 10 knots, over the central and western Caribbean this week. Water temperatures will be warm, dry air absent, and the MJO favorable. I don't see any major impediments to the storm becoming a tropical depression by Thursday, and it is a bit of a surprise to me that the computer models have been reluctant to develop 93L. The GFS, NOGAPS, and UKMET models do not develop 93L, and the ECMWF model doesn't develop 93L until after it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and enters the Gulf of Mexico in a about a week. The current (2am EDT) run of the GFDL model predicts 93L will be a weak tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico in five days; its previous run had 93L as a major hurricane in the Gulf. Given all this model reluctance and the current disorganization of 93L, I give the storm a low (less than 20% chance) of becoming a hurricane in the Caribbean. Expect 93L to bring flooding rains of 3 - 6 inches to Jamaica, eastern Cuba, and southwestern Haiti today through Wednesday. These rains will spread to the Cayman Islands and central Cuba by Thursday, and western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday. The current run of the SHIPS model has 93L slowing down late this week to a forward speed of just 6 knots (7 mph) from its current speed of about 10 mph, in response to a weakening in the steering currents. A trough of low pressure is expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. early next week. If this trough is strong enough and 93L develops significantly, the storm could get pulled northwards and make landfall along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast in the oil spill region. This is the solution of the Canadian GEM model. If 93L stays weak and/or the trough is not so strong, the storm would get pushed west-northwestwards towards the Texas coast. This is the solution of the ECMWF model. The amount of wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico next week is highly uncertain. There is currently a band of high shear near 30 knots over the Gulf, and some of the models predict this shear will remain over the Gulf over the next 7 - 10 days. However, other models predict that this band of high shear will retreat northwards and leave the Gulf nearly shear-free. The long-term fate of 93L remains very murky. My main concerns at this point are the potential for 3 - 6 inches of rain in Haiti over the next two days, and the possibility 93L could become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico next week.

Elsewhere in the tropics
None of the reliable computer models is calling for tropical cyclone formation elsewhere in the Atlantic over the next seven days.

Floods in China and Burma kill over 250
The deadliest and most destructive weather-related disaster on the planet so far this year is occurring in southern China and northern Burma, where a week of heavy rains has caused flooding that has claimed over 250 lives. The heavy rains and floods ravaging 10 southern Chinese provinces had killed 199 and left 123 missing as of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, a Ministry of Civil Affairs statement said. Damage is estimated at $6.2 billion. Floods and landslides in neighboring areas of Myanmar (Burma) have claimed at least 63 lives in the past week.


Figure 2. Paramilitary policemen help evacuate residents from Wanjia village of Fuzhou City, East China's Jiangxi province, June 22, 2010. Days of heavy rain burst the Changkai Dike of Fu River on June 21, threatening the lives of 145,000 local people. Local authorities have ordered immediate evacuation, and the army and paramilitary police have begun conducting rescue operations. Image credit: Xinhua.

Wind and ocean current forecast for the BP oil disaster
Southeast to east winds less than 10 knots will blow in the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Saturday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The resulting weak ocean currents should cause little motion of the oil slick, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The long range outlook is uncertain, and will depend upon what 93L does.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
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
NOAA's interactive mapping tool allows one to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
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

"Hurricane Haven" airing again this afternoon
Tune into another airing of my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question in the comments area on my blog. You can also email the questions to me today before the show: jmasters@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line. Some topics I'll cover today on the show:

1) The latest on 93L
2) Which model is the most reliable?

Today's show will be 30 - 40 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

Jeff Masters

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1246. srada
Why do you think that will happen?
If this blows up to be a monster, then the trough will pick up it earlier..its about timing of the trough and the strength of the storm
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
351 PM CDT TUE JUN 22 2010

.DISCUSSION...
WIDELY SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOPING OVER THE
COASTAL COUNTIES AND SPREADING WNW. PW ON THE RISE AHEAD OF
TOMORROWS WEATHER MAKER EVEN THIS AFTERNOON. EXPECT STORMS TO
BECOME A LITTLE MORE NUMEROUS AS THE SEABREEZE PENETRATES INLAND
THEN DISSIPATE AS HEATING WANES IN THE EARLY EVENING HOURS.

UPPER S/W SWINGS IN ACROSS SETX WEDNESDAY AND PW REACHING 2.0-2.3"
(DOWN A BIT FROM EARLIER MODEL RUNS) AND COMBINED WITH DAYTIME
HEATING AND THE COOLER FLOW ALOFT THE CAPPING SHOULD ERODE AND THE
OUTCOME SHOULD BE SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHRA/TSRA. TROUBLESOME
ISSUE IS THE SLOW STORM MOTION OF 2-6 KNOTS AND THE VERY MOIST
AIRMASS. HAVE ADDED LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL TO THE FORECAST AND
WOULD NOT BE SHOCKED IF A FEW LOCATIONS GET 3-4 INCH AMOUNTS.
MOISTURE LINGERS INTO THURSDAY THOUGH MORE FOCUSED OVER THE
NORTHERN ZONES. THEN RIDGING TAKES BACK OVER AND THE AREA SHOULD
DRY OUT...HAVE CONTINUED THE 20 POPS NEAR THE COAST IN THE AM
EXPANDING INLAND OVER THE WEEKEND BUT THESE POPS MAY BE TO HIGH ON
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. ANOTHER ISSUE IS THE HEAT INDICES THAT ARE
POSSIBLE ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY WITH THE WARMER CONDITIONS AND
LESS CLOUD COVER...102-109 MAY BE BRIEFLY POSSIBLE.

ON TO THE NEXT ISSUE...THE TROPICAL WAVE IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
LOOKING A LITTLE MORE RAGGED BUT WINDS IN THE AREA ARE STRONGER
THAN A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO WITH THE WAVE. STILL LOOKING AS THOUGH
THE BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPMENT WILL BE WEDNESDAY
NIGHT/THURSDAY. GFS STILL HAVING TROUBLE WITH INITIALIZATION AND
HAVE CONTINUED TO FAVOR THE ECMWF. 12 RUN BRINGS IT OVER THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA AND INTO THE GULF MOVING NORTHWEST NEARING THE
TX COAST WEDNESDAY. STILL VERY EARLY TO JUMP ON A DETERMINISTIC
FORECAST AND AM NOT WILLING TO BITE YET.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11667
Quoting hydrus:
I see what your saying. But in the formative stage, when a center re-organizes or re-forms it is to the north of the previous center due to the Coriolis Effect. There are exceptions in certain situations.


Some hurricanes turn to where the fuel-source is.
I watched one hurricane do a right turn before hitting land (Tampa Bay). And another storm jog south, at the last minute off Haiti, back into favorable conditions.
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Dominating COC looks to be at 75.0W 17.5N.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
flibinite, more or less we will be able to tell because of the organization near latitude 15N on satellite and pressure readings in the area
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Go to class......93L will still be there tommorow.


I'm going, reluctantly so, in order to get the results to last week's exam : P
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93l continuing to look ragged as it has been said the MLC to the NE is not 93L.
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Shades of 2009 you say? More like shades of 2008.. Dolly, Fay, and Kyle all took absolutely forever to develop a LLC. Fay was the worst. 93L's just doing what those storms did, in the end all 3 of those storms (well.. maybe not so much Kyle) caused a nip on someones behind and if the models are right 93L should be pretty similar. I do think however, the NHC is still spot on, maybe a little low, with percentages. 93L still is our best shot so far this year with Alex. I will also note that this and 92L are amazing feats of tropical weather. Stuff like this shouldn't happen so early in the season, especially 92L. Low shear, extremely high SSTs and TCHP that we're seeing is more mid-July than mid to late June.
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Quoting btwntx08:

ms,al


I looked at the recent models. thanks
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
325 PM EDT TUE JUN 22 2010

IN THE EXTENDED PERIOD FRIDAY INTO NEXT WEEK, MODEL FORECAST
SOUNDING SHOW PWAT INCREASING TO JUST OVER TWO INCHES BY FRIDAY INTO
THE WEEKEND WHICH IS ONLY SLIGHTLY ABOVE LATE JUNE AVERAGES. THIS
WOULD CERTAINLY TEND TO INCREASE THE CHANCES FOR SEEING MORE
CONVECTION SO PLAN TO INDICATE THAT IN THE AFTERNOON PACKAGE. BOTH
THE GFS AND ECMWF ALSO ONLY SHOW A BROAD LOW DEVELOPING ALONG THE
WAVE AS IT MOVES INTO THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN WHILE THE NAM IS THE
OUTLIER AND SHOWS A MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT SYSTEM. THIS HAD BEEN THE
TREND OF THE GFS AND ECMWF WITH EARLIER RUNS BUT BOTH HAVE SINCE
BACKED OFF ON THIS SCENARIO. FORECAST SOUNDINGS DO SHOW HOWEVER PWAT
INCREASING FURTHER TO WELL OVER TWO INCHES SO THIS WILL BE A TREND
THAT WILL NEED TO BE CLOSELY MONITORED. BUT WE ALSO HAVE SEEN THESE
MODELS BACK OFF THESE HIGHER PWAT VALUES FOR THIS WEEK SO NOTHING TO
GET EXCITED ABOUT JUST YET.



Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1233. hydrus
Quoting reedzone:
A storm will try hard to stay in favorable conditions, away form the wind shear. This is why I feel the LLC will form south around 15-16N, 73-74W. The future path is uncertain until it forms a LLC.
I see what your saying. But in the formative stage, when a center re-organizes or re-forms it is to the north of the previous center due to the Coriolis Effect. There are exceptions in certain situations.
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Quoting srada:


I think the "ernesto" path will be the track that this storm take


Didn't ernesto take a Hair pin sort of right turn over sf and out to sea. Why do you think that will happen? Thanks
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Looks like the tropics still have some funk left over from last year a little bit. 93 should be a TS now
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 578
Thanks, cirrocumulus... I had no idea that's what the model consensus was saying. I very much hope the models are wrong about that, then. Is there any way we'll ever be able to tell if that's where the LLC formed (if it does, even), except empirically? Some official announcement or something? Thanks...

Jo
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Quoting kmanislander:


If that is the "best" and the 850 vort is way up there at 17N 72W then 93L has a long way to go to becoming a TD IMO. Anyway, having been a longstanding proponent of the rejuvenative effects of a weak system getting to 75 West I will keep an open mind on this for now.


The 18Z run puts 850 vort right where the center is supposed to be. See post of vort map by Drakoen ... #1128. Or am I missing something?
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
I don't like the look of these new runs



They look good to me. They take it over the Yucatan which would weaken it before it may hit Mexico or possibly some part of Texas.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Convection beginning to increase SLIGHTLY with the 18Z LLC.
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1225. IKE
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flibinite, yes that is the model consensus for origination.
the current spin is further northeast
more energy appears farther southwest however so the models appear correct
there does seem to be a good balance of heat and moisture and sunlight now for it to begin developing. I am using NASA update satellite views as they are more recent and up to date.
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Quoting RobertM320:


And that's easy to say in hindsight. Would you have guaranteed that on September 21, 2001? I doubt it. And its been two months and I haven't seen any other rigs explode either. Again, you punish everyone for one companies mistake. Heck, if you want, shut all of BP's rigs down.

Let's try this for example: If three different tourists got murdered on three different Florida beaches in one week, would you shut down all the beaches throughout the entire state until the murderers were caught? .... I didn't think so.


Yeah,. but if those murder victims each bled 10 million gallons of toxic waste...

Your example is meaningless in the face of the disaster
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Quoting 92Andrew:
I'm so addicted to this blog that I'm not sure if I should get my hiney off the couch and go to class. I need to decide what to do before 5 pm in time to get through traffic and make it to class by 5:40pm.


Go to class......93L will still be there tommorow.
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I'm so addicted to this blog that I'm not sure if I should get my hiney off the couch and go to class. I need to decide what to do before 5 pm in time to get through traffic and make it to class by 5:40pm.
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I don't like the look of these new runs

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1219. IKE
Dr. Masters said the best model for performance in 2009 in the 1-3 day time period was the GFS...according to the NHC.

CMC was by far the best model in the 4-5 day time period in 2009...according to the NHC.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It isn't a cone, just arrows pointing to where it should go depending on conditions.


If you say so.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting CaneWarning:


As long as you don't mind the whole GOM being in the cone. LOL
It isn't a cone, just arrows pointing to where it should go depending on conditions.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting SevereHurricane:


I guess you have never seen a system organize within 12 hours?
I have, but few. And anyways, this is the genesis of a system, not a developed system "organizing" as you said.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1215. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
National Hurricane Center
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE CELIA (EP042010)
21:00 PM UTC June 22 2010
==================================

At 21:00 PM UTC, Hurricane Celia (972 hPa) located at 11.8N 106.3W or 450 NM south southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico has sustained winds of 85 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 8 knots.

Forecast and Intensity
======================
24 HRS: 12.1N 109.8W - 95 knots (SVR Cyclone SSHS-2)
48 HRS: 12.9N 114.3W - 100 knots (SVR Cyclone SSHS-3)
72 HRS: 14.4N 118.5W - 90 knots (SVR Cyclone SSHS-2)
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A storm will try hard to stay in favorable conditions, away form the wind shear. This is why I feel the LLC will form south around 15-16N, 73-74W. The future path is uncertain until it forms a LLC.
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Quoting ATL:

Yep, it's a bit restricted right now by South America and Caribbean islands as StormW and others have said. People RIPing are being a little too reactionary...the NHC lowering probability to develop just means that they expect it to take longer to form. The odds are with us on this thing eventually developing.
Exactly, what people seem to forget is that the probability the NHC gives is in the next 48 hours, not the systems entire lifespan.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Look at post 1191. It is explained very well where it should go.


As long as you don't mind the whole GOM being in the cone. LOL
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1211. IKE
From the Mobile,AL. extended....

"LONG TERM (SATURDAY THROUGH TUESDAY)...
VERY LITTLE CHANGE IN THE OVERALL PATTERN WILL EXIST THROUGH THE
WEEKEND AS VERY WARM AND HUMID CONDITIONS PERSIST WITH ISOLD/SCT
MAINLY DAYTIME CONVECTION. ATTENTION TURNS TO THE TROPICS AS A WAVE
OF LOW PRESSURE POTENTIALLY ORGANIZES IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN...
BETWEEN CUBA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. AS IS COMMON WITH DEVELOPING
TROPICAL SYSTEMS IN THE LONGER RANGE TIME FRAME...THE OPERATIONAL
MODELS ARE NOT IN AGREEMENT. IN FACT...THE 12Z/22 ECMWF AND 12Z GFS
ARE ON NEARLY OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM. THE FORECAST WILL BE
DEPENDANT ON THE POSITIONING OF THE UPR HIGH WHICH WILL LIKELY MOVE
JUST OFF THE SOUTHEAST COAST AS AN UPR TROUGH DIGS ACROSS THE UPR
MIDWEST/NORTHEAST REGION.

ASSUMING CURRENT TROPICAL WAVE CAN REMAIN INTACT...THERE REMAINS A
CHANCE THAT FURTHER DEVELOPMENT COULD OCCUR AS THE WAVE DRIFTS
NORTHWEST INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF THIS WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.
WILL HAVE TO SEE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE DAYS IF MEDIUM RANGE MODELS
SHOW BETTER RUN-TO-RUN CONSISTENCY...WHICH DOES NOT EXIST AT THE
MOMENT."
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Tropical development doesn't take a couple hours to take place, it is a process. Just sit back and monitor the situation, you'll get a system soon enough.


I guess you have never seen a system organize within 12 hours?
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1209. srada
Quoting reedzone:
New map I made concerning the potential future of 93L.. I still feel the LLC forms south of the forecast point.

Map made based on the maps and pattern

Photobucket


I think the "ernesto" path will be the track that this storm take
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Quoting txsweetpea:


Can you tell me where it goes after? This is 93L ...right?
Look at post 1191. It is explained very well where it should go.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Do any of the more knowledgeable weatherpersons here think that the LLC has a chance of initiating as far south as 15 N., and as quickly as 76 W.?

I really need to know this, and any comments/opinions would be greatly appreciated... thanks.

Jo
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Quoting reedzone:
New map I made concerning the potential future of 93L.. I still feel the LLC forms south of the forecast point.

Map made based on the maps and pattern

Photobucket


+1
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1205. ATL
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah, haven't been expecting development so rapidly, might take another couple days to take off, still has to work on some things.

Yep, it's a bit restricted right now by South America and Caribbean islands as StormW and others have said. People RIPing are being a little too reactionary...the NHC lowering probability to develop just means that they expect it to take longer to form. The odds are with us on this thing eventually developing.
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1204. ssmate
Nice job Reed.
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We are exactly one day closer to a storm forming than yesterday at this time.


We had a mass of clouds yesterday....today we have a spin starting....in one or two days we'll have a storm......
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Quoting RobertM320:


..and I wouldn't want a second one either. Ten days, maybe two weeks of moratorium. long enough to create some guidelines, and again, there is NO RISK to drilling in rock. Remember, there was several days of warning signs prior to the explosion. Put someone on each rig, like the air marshals on the planes, to monitor, with full authority to halt drilling, and that should do. You can't shut them all down because of one crooked company.


I think part of the 6 month timeline was to give enough time to make some relatively informed decisions as to what safety guidelines are to be put in place; it doesn't take much to be disgusted by the fact that the drilling industry has increased the ability to drill while at the same time doing absolutely NOTHING to improve safety and fall back in the event of a blow out like this. BP's reps were saying really confidence inspring things like "we're trying what we know" and "no one has had a blow out at 5000 feet before". That begs the question: Why were you doing it if you had no idea how to stop it if it got out of hand?

Folks want to talk about Ixtoc and I agree: it was in 200 feet of water and it took nearly ten monthsa to shut it down...funny thing is, they used

1. A top kill process
2. A :"junk shot" (they used ball bearings)
3. A "sombrero" (sounding familiar?)

In 31 years the industry has done nothing to help stop the results of blow outs in deep water (in 1979, 200 feet was a deep water well...)

Hmmm, maybe we DO need to take a little while and think about what needs to be in place before we even think about a deep water well going in...
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Quoting hydrus:
Good map Reed.


Thanks :)
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1200. ssmate
Very nice.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Deja Vu all over again. like 2009 all over again, aint a damn thing materializing
Tropical development doesn't take a couple hours to take place, it is a process. Just sit back and monitor the situation, you'll get a system soon enough.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting btwntx08:
if it becomes a major just north of the yuactan then the trough will have a better chance at picking it up


Can you tell me where it goes after? This is 93L ...right?
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1197. hydrus
Quoting reedzone:
New map I made concerning the potential future of 93L.. I still feel the LLC forms south of the forecast point.

Map made based on the maps and pattern

Photobucket
Good map Reed.
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1196. ssmate
No reason trying anymore on SST, We've peaked. But we will set records.
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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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