Archive for the ‘Oil Spill’ Category

Bonnie’s Effects on Us and the Oil Spill
July 23, 2010


Click image to view your Hurricane Bonnie Webcast:


Ocean Currents Bringing Oil to SE Texas
July 9, 2010

So far, hurricane season has not been kind to southeast Texas when it comes to oil.  I’ve put together a webcast so you can see how ocean currents are driving the oil toward us. I often hear people say that the winds are moving the oil. This isn’t true. From day one, ocean currents have been steering the oil toward the Louisiana coast, Florida and the loop current. Hurricane Alex brought in strong seas that were moving from the southeast toward the northwest.  The seas over the oil rose 4 to 6 feet and the oil that was just beneath the surface was steered west for the first time. Tropical Depression No. 2 did the same thing. The strong easterly seas will go down starting tonight, but we are seeing the effects tropical systems have on ocean currents. I’ve said this from day one: The key is getting the oil stopped or it will keep showing up in different cities all along the Gulf Coast.   

Click the image to view why we are finding oil in Galveston.

A Big BP Problem!
June 29, 2010


This is a potential huge problem!  Most storms that track into the Gulf of Mexico don’t form far enough away to give five days notice.  Take Alex for example.  It formed Friday in the Caribbean and some of the initial models had it going right over the oil on Wednesday.  That’s five days but a shut down wasn’t called because of the uncertainty in the forecast.  What if those models had been correct?  The model forecast are good three days out, five days there is quite an error spread.  Let’s hope BP isn’t tested on this. 

If BP did have to tear down it would take an additional five days to get it back up and running.  That could mean 12 -15 days the oil keeps spilling with no one even trying to stop it. 

To view other weather quiz answers click here:

Past Weather Quiz Answers


Gulf Oil Spill: Worst Case Scenario
June 18, 2010

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.

How Large is the Oil Spill?
June 10, 2010

I made a webcast showing the size of the oil spill relative to where we live in southeast Texas. Two weeks after the spill the entire area was as large as Harris County. Now look at it. This has to be stopped. Unfortunately, it looks like the only hope is a relief line that will be put in August at the earliest.

Click image to view web cast:

History: Oil In The Gulf
May 26, 2010

A big topic of discussion has been what will happen with the oil in the the Gulf of Mexico if a hurricane or tropical storm goes over it.  There has been a lot of speculation on TV, but not a lot of perspective on history.  On June 3, 1979, a Pemex oil rig exploded and spewed oil for nearly 10 months with the oil reaching southeast Texas.  Three different tropical systems moved over the oil.  What happened?  Click on the image for the history of oil in the Gulf.   

Oil Spill Reaching the Florida Keys
May 18, 2010

This isn’t a surprise, but it is sobering to see that some of the oil has gotten caught up in the loop current. You can see from the latest NOAA satellite image how a thin sheen of oil is moving southeastward.

On a previous post I discussed how eddies are steering the oil. As you can see, these two eddies moved the oil right into the loop current.

I get asked a lot about the oil reaching southeast Texas. My answer has been consistent: It will eventually get here if the oil spill can’t be contained. I’ve been tracking the NOAA oil forecasts since day one and the one thing that sticks out to me is how the oil is spreading out in all directions. If the oil keeps spewing, it will affect southeast Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and, yes, the east coast.  For now the thickest oil is southwest of the original explosion. Click the image to get a closer look.

Where Is The Oil Slick Going?
May 7, 2010

This the latest colorized satellite image from Rofer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service.  Notice how the thickest oil is south of the spill (red dot) and now moving southwest.  The lighter color is a thinner oil or oil sheen.  The loop current isn’t affecting the spill just yet, rather the clockwise rotating eddy centered near 89.25W & 27.37N is controlling the flow of the oil spill.  In fact, all of the small eddies are steering the oil away from land for now.

This is NOAA’s oil spill forecast for Sunday:  Most of the thick oil is still well off shore, but there are a few areas getting beached oil.  Click image to see better detail.

If the oil spill can’t be stopped, eventually it will make it into the loop current and head toward south Florida.  From there it catches the Gulf Stream and moves toward Cape Hatteras and the east coast.

Some things to keep in mind …  the initial media reports of the oil on land will be, “It isn’t that bad; we thought this was going to be much worse.”  The reason you’ll hear this is because the oil is becoming weathered, which means the thickest oil is sinking to the ocean floor first.  What we don’t see  is the impact on tuna, dolphin, marlin, sharks, plankton, etc.  It will take more time to get this oil to the surface.