Gulf Coast Oil Spill Faces First Tropical Weather Challenge

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The first tropical depression of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has formed in the Western Caribbean, but it is unclear if it will pass over the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday that the depression has winds of about 35 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The peninsula separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. The warning is in effect in Mexico from Chetumal north to Cancun.

BP would need about five days to move all of its equipment out of harm’s way if a storm threatens, BP spokesman Bill Salvin said. So far, the company hasn’t started that process.

“If a hurricane comes screaming through here, this is going to make a disaster movie look like a rehearsal,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at UC Berkeley.

BP is on target for mid-August completion of a relief well in the Gulf of Mexico, the best hope of stopping the oil that’s been gushing since April, the company said Friday. But this date will change if the ships drilling the relief wells must be moved to avoid a huge tropical storm.

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5 Responses to Gulf Coast Oil Spill Faces First Tropical Weather Challenge

  1. feminazi says:

    The other part of a tropical storm is the south to north tract of the wind. A hurricane would send more oil up over the land mass of the five U.S. states who have Gulf coast shore. One forecaster said the oil may be pushed as far inland as New Orleans. This is a disaster on top of a disaster.

  2. Estacada says:

    The Weather Channel said this morning the storm has a 60/40 chance of moving to the west and missing the Deepwater Horizon. But 60/40 aren’t the odds I want to see.

    We’re just starting hurricane season and the relief wells won’t be completed until August. I am really worried about this timeline.

  3. Woodcliffe says:

    The NOAA is forecasting 12 to 16 major hurricanes this season based on the fact El Nino is over.

    Not good for the capping effort and the clean up.

  4. Joe says:

    I hate my species.

  5. R.J. says:

    I heard that if the hurricane is west of the site, then the oil would actually get pushed more eastward. I hope no one is making plans on going to the beach or catching a fish in Mississippi anytime soon. [/sarcasm]

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