Gulf Oil Spill: Worst Case Scenario

Bill Read, the National Hurricane Center director, met with the Houston Chapter of the American Meteorological Society Thursday night.  Every day he fields calls about the Gulf oil spill.  He shared the worst case scenario with the oil spill disaster. 

Click image to view the webcast.

What the image is showing is the storm surge levels from a major hurricane hitting Texas and missing the oil spill.  Gradually, the ocean rises three to six feet and the oil moves into Florida and Louisiana.  It would be better if a hurricane like this moved directly over the spill because then it will help dilute the oil.  The heavy rain and winds from the hurricane would be better for the marshes than a slow lifting of the oil on shore. 

The odds of a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane flowing this path and hitting southeast Texas are extremely small, but as you can see, the potential damage caused by this is tremendous.

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