Friday, May 28, 2010

How Does Oil & Hurricanes Mix

Approaching Hurricane Season
Brings New Oil Spill Concerns

June 1st is the official start of the Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season which runs through November 30th.  As you may know, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Office of Response and Restoration has been on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill from the start.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has just released the NOAA 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook which calls for a 85% chance of an above normal hurricane season in the Atlantic region.

Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
As the start of the hurricane season approaches, there are many concerns about the impact of a hurricane interacting with the oil spill.   NOAA scientists have prepared a document which addresses the following questions:

  • What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?
  • What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf?
  • Will the oil slick help or hurt a storm from developing in the Gulf?
  • Will the hurricane pull up the oil that is below the surface of the Gulf?
  • Have we had experience in the past with hurricanes and oil spills?
  • Will there be oil in the rain related to a hurricane?
Their analysis can be found in the following document:
Hurricanes and the Oil Spill: A Factsheet and Frequent Questions

In general, the oil slick isn't expected to have a significant impact on the hurricane.  The track of the hurricane and other factors would determine  the movement of oil from the slick and whether the biodegradation process might be accelerated by the hurricane.

Continual monitoring is needed since the details of the evolution of the storm, the track, the wind speed, the size, the forward motion and the intensity are all unknowns at this point and may alter this general statement.

We will continue to monitor both the oil spill and any developing tropical cyclone reporting details to help you be prepared for your cruise vacation during hurricane season.

Continue reading my series on hurricane preparedness as this week of preparation draws to a close.

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