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When Weather and Oil Collide

May 26th, 2010 by flanews

Hurricane season begins next week and this year meteorologists have a new element to consider in their storm predictions; the oil slick in the Gulf. As Whitney Ray tells us, a hurricane in the gulf is likely to do two things send some of the oil to Floridas coast and break apart whats left on the surface forcing it to the bottom of the seafloor.

With winds upwards of 150 miles an hour sending rain, water, and debris flying through the air, hurricanes are one of Floridas most feared enemies. But the biggest threat to Floridas coastline this year is sitting 50 miles off the Coast of Pensacola.

So far Mother Nature has keep the millions of gallons of oil at bay but FSU researcher and member of the Center for Ocean and Atmospheric Prediction Studies Mark Bourassa says a hurricane could be a game changer.

The bad thing is that the oil is pushed by the winds or waves generated by the winds, it will spread it all over a much larger area and some of the storm surge could bring it inland, said Bourassa.

Thats a worst case scenario. Theres also the opportunity for the hurricanes to help clean up the oil, with rough seas breaking it into microscopic pieces.

It will break it into smaller littler droplets and little microbes are good at eating those up, so that will help get rid of a lot of the oil. That will help it disappear faster, said Bourassa.

Whatever the scenario, BP isnt preparing for it.

Floridas Attorney General asked BP to unveil its hurricane plan, so the company wrote a letter to the AGs office saying it doesnt respond to hypothetical situations.

The Attorney Generals Spokeswoman Sandi Copes says BP needs to get its act together.

I dont see how hurricane season could imply a hypothetical for named storms, its almost a certainty that we are going to see them, said Copes.

The Attorney Generals office is seeking a promise from BP that it will pay for all Florida claims related to the spill, even if a hurricane increases the area of damage.

Hurricanes also bring days of rain. If the oil is already on the coast and a hurricane hits, the rain the storm brings could actually wash the oil off the coast.

Posted in Hurricane Season, Oil Drilling, State News, Weather | No Comments »

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