Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tropical Storm Bonnie & The Oil Spill

Right now, "Bonnie" has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression, which means that it that its sustained winds are 39 miles an hour or lower.  It is expected to gain some momentum in the gulf waters but not much.  As it stands now, it is only expected to get back up to a Tropical Storm strength.

Here is the predicted landfall route:

Now as it stands right now this is going to take it if not directly over the Oil Spill, it will encompass enough of it for us to consider it a direct hit.

So what does that mean?  Well it will most certainly push a lot of oil ashore, so we can expect to see and hear more of that information, but the waters will be agitated due to the wave action which will break up some of the sheets of oil as well.

Based on what I have read, the storm is expected to come ashore in Louisiana at around 9 pm tonight.  That is good news as it is near the low tide time frame will result in less oil entering the marshlands.

This is the anticipated locations of the oil impact from Bonnie, the predictions are from NOAA.

Now a lot of things can happen, but Jeff Masters of Weather Underground posted last night (with an expected update on things this morning) that he gave Bonnie a 30% chance of dissipating over the gulf before it even reaches land due to some specific weather patterns.

Now we know that all work in the Gulf with regards to the oil spill has been suspended due to this storm, which while understandable, makes many concerned about the fact that there is no way to observe what is going on. There were reports that at least one if not 2 ROV's would be the last out and first in after the storm so that as little time as possible was spent without a picture of what was going on. Originally the plan was to unseal the cap and allow the oil to flow into the water again while everyone in the area evacuated, since there would be no way to monitor the site, but they have now decided to take the "chance" and leave the cap in place and unmonitored. This is a gamble because it risks a catastrophic problem arising with no one around to be able to respond, for days, if something should happen. I think it is a small gamble as they have been watching this cap in place for a week now and nothing has happened. Right now it is a wait and see situation, but I think we can all be thankful that this storm isn't worse and has been limited to the Tropical Depression/Storm category rather than ramping up into a Hurricane which would be much more problematic for everyone.

One last look at the most current "Wundermap" from Weather Underground. On this map I have included the forecast track for Bonnie, along with the Radar so you can see where the worst of the weather is headed.

Weather Underground

Just for future reference, if you would like to go to Weather Underground, use the above link, and then when the homepage opens, you will see this at the top of the page:

I've put arrows to the sites that I use, which is the "Wundermaps" and Dr. Jeff Masters Blog, which he updates regularly with explanations on all storms.

1 comment: