The Oil Spill & Hurricane Season

The oil spill or eruption as I would put it, considering what we have been seeing on the live underwater cams over the past month and a half, continues to leave a terrible mess in the Gulf of Mexico.  First off the bat, here are a variety of live video feeds to see what is going on nearly a mile under the surface of the gulf.

Robot Live Feed 1
Robot Live Feed 1a
Robot Live Feed 2
Robot Live Feed 2a
Robot Live Feed 3
Robot Live Feed 3a
Robot Live Feed 4
Robot Live Feed 5

CBS News Live Video
Entire List of Robot Cam Live Feeds

Like pretty much everyone else, I am hoping that not only will the oil spewing out out of the broken pipes be plugged ASAP, but also that the clean up effort on the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast can prevent an expansion of the oil blooms.  Needless to say this is the worst environmental disaster to effect the United States coast in many decades.  I won't put hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or other natural disasters into this category because unlike those weather phenomena and for that matter earthquakes or volcano eruptions, can't be prevented.  This on the other hand, based on reporting done by
CBS News as of late, showed many warning signs that things weren't going right on the the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig.  The impacts have been wide reaching, from the fisherman and shrimpers in Louisiana, to wildlife like fish, turtles and pelicans, to the sullied water that has transported the oil to the beaches along the coast, not to mention economic ripples when it comes to tourism.  The New York Times offers an in-depth variety of maps that analyze the oil spill and how it has evolved over time. 

Meantime, June 1st marked the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season.  Typically during June and July, there is generally limited tropical development.  However considering the hot spots for tropical storms and hurricanes early in the season are in the Gulf of Mexico and western Caribbean, concern is once again heightened for how this oil spill could cause another unnecessary blow to those locations that could be impacted by a landfalling storm.  Based on how much oil is out there, I would find it difficult for the oil to be cleaned up in the Gulf before the storms begin to churn through.  Even if more than half of the spill is cleaned up, there could be additional delays if and when a tropical system decides to plow on across the region.  Here is a fact sheet from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) about how the oil spill in the Gulf could effect storms. 

Anyhow, this summer is expected to feature an active hurricane season with predictions by the NHC of 14 to 23 named storms,  8 to 14 hurricanes, and 3 to 7 that could be major hurricanes (that being category 3 or higher).  Compared to last year, this isn't a surprise.  The El Nino pattern that was present last summer worked to suppress storm development with stronger winds across the tropics that sheered apart the storms to an extent, hindering widespread development.  This summer, we are back to a neutral phase, if not that of a slight La Nina pattern, which obviously causes the opposite effects.  Will this season match that of the whirlwind year of 2005?  Only time will tell, but in 2005 there were a grand total of 25 named storms, which exhausted the storms name list and the NHC reverted to naming them after greek letters.  Is your name a part of this year's storm list?  Check out the NHC Atlantic Storm Names list to find out.

Back closer to home, June is the prime month for severe weather and if nothing else, there are ample opportunities for rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for the next several days.  Will any damaging winds, large hail or tornadoes accompany these storms?  Keep it tuned to 24/7 Weather and our newscasts on Newschannel 7 to find out.

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