Little change to 90L; flow of oil southwards towards Loop Current shuts off

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:57 PM GMT on May 22, 2010

An extratropical low pressure system a few hundred miles northeast of the Bahamas (90L), has changed little over the past day. (For those of you who were wondering, a discussion of what an "Invest" is can be found in the Tropical Cyclone FAQ). This low has the potential to develop into the season's first depression or subtropical storm, and could be a threat to the Southeast U.S. coast by Tuesday or Wednesday. The SHIPS model predicts that shear will be in the high 30 - 40 knot range through Tuesday, though. The high shear combined with the large amount of dry air to 90L's west seen on water vapor satellite loops will greatly hamper transition of this system to a subtropical storm. This system is expected to move slowly north and then northwestward towards the Southeast U.S. coast over the next three days, and could bring 20 - 30 mph winds and heavy rain to the coast of North Carolina by Tuesday night. Most of the models indicate that Wednesday will be when 90L gets closest to the coast, with a position just off the North or South Carolina coast. All of the major models currently indicate that 90L will not make landfall, but will move slowly northeastward out to sea late next week as a trough of low pressure moving across the Eastern U.S. picks up the storm. While the storm will initially form in a region of high wind shear and be entirely extratropical, it will move into a region of lower wind shear in a gap between the polar jet stream to the north and the subtropical jet stream to its south by Wednesday. At that time, the low will be positioned near the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and will have the opportunity to develop a shallow warm core and transition to a subtropical storm. The counter-clockwise flow of air around this low will probably lead to offshore winds over the oil spill region Tuesday through Wednesday, keeping oil away from the coasts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, but pushing oil southwards towards the Loop Current. Wunderbloggers Weather456 and StormW have more detailed discussions of the potential development of 90L.

Figure 1. Visible satellite image of 90L this afternoon.

Heavy rainfall threat for Haiti diminishes
Moisture is expected to increase across most of the Caribbean next week, leading to seasonally heavy rains across much of the region. A concentrated tropical disturbance capable of bringing dangerous flooding rains to Haiti is no longer being indicated, but the normal heavy rains that we can expect this time of year will likely begin affecting the island over the next several weeks.

Flow of oil southward towards the Loop Current shuts off
Light southeast to east winds are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Monday, resulting in potential oiling of Louisiana shorelines from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward 150 miles, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA. These winds shut off the flow of oil southwards towards the Loop Current, as seen in the latest SAR satellite imagery (Figure 2). However, winds will shift to offshore out of the north or northeast Tuesday and Wednesday, due to counter-clockwise flow of air around the approaching 90L storm. This wind direction change should give some relief to the hard-hit Louisiana coast. If 90L becomes strong and lingers off the Southeast U.S. coast for several days, a significant amount of oil could get pumped into the Loop Current late next week.

Figure 2. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image of the oil spill taken at 8:53am EDT May 22, 2010, by the Canadian Radarsat-1 satellite, operated by MDA GeospatialServices of Richmond, Canada. The plume of oil being drawn south towards the Loop Current has been cut off. Image credit: Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. SAR images have a resolution of 8 - 50 meters, and can be taken through clouds and precipitation.

Oil threat to the Keys uncertain
Satellite imagery from today's pass of NASA's Terra satellite and the European Envisat satellite were inconclusive as to the presence of oil in the Loop Current. It is likely that the oil has dispersed significantly over the 500-mile course it has taken from the site of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. I expect some oil is close to completing the full loop of the Loop Current and is now headed east towards the Keys, as depicted in the "Uncertainty" area in the latest NOAA 72-hour offshore trajectory forecast. If this estimate is correct, the Keys could see oil as early as Wednesday. However, this is not a sure thing. As I discussed in my post Wednesday, the Loop Current is very unstable right now, and is ready to cut off into a giant clockwise-rotating eddy, an event that occurs every 6 - 11 months. This event could occur today or tomorrow, in which case the ribbon of southwestward-moving oil would turn due west and then north, eventually winding up back near the site of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecast Service has a nice discussion on the possibility of the Loop Current cutting off into a Loop Current Eddy, and they note in today's discussion that there appears to be a developing eastward flow of water directly from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Florida Keys. Keep in mind, though, that during the first month that a Loop Current Eddy forms, it exchanges a considerable amount of water with the Loop Current. Even if a Loop Current Eddy forms today, I still expect we will see some oil make the turn eastward and flow past the Florida Keys by Wednesday. My guess is that the oil will be too thin and scattered to cause significant problems in the Keys, but there is great uncertainty on this.

Oil spill resources
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA trajectory forecasts
Deepwater Horizon Unified Command web site
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Surface current forecasts from NOAA's HYCOM model
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

I'll be back with a new post Monday morning.

Jeff Masters

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2251. ajcamsmom2
12:22 PM GMT on May 29, 2010
This is from

Earlier this week the president slapped a 6 month moratorium into place for all deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The order includes both drilling ships and deep water rigs that are used at the most extreme depths.

There are 33 deep water rigs currently drilling and the majority of them, 11, belong to Transocean the owner of the Deep Water Horizon. Diamond Offshore and Nobel each own 6 and Ensco owns the last two.
From, a local tv station in Lafayette....concerning the moratorium on offshore drilling (not good news)....

"All four are Texas companies located in Houston and stand to lose five million dollars for every day the moratorium continues.But, the collateral damage created by the moratorium is the real story.

Because hundreds of service companies and thousands of their employees are located here in Louisiana, their business and employees will bear the brunt of the shut down."

There are no figures available as to what that may cost in lost work and lost.

Member Since: March 15, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2577
2250. stillwaiting
4:45 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
or even more feasable 90L becoming absorbed by the AOI off the VA/NC coastline...
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
2249. stillwaiting
4:43 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
I'm thinkin 90L's done and we may have 91L in the next day or so under the ULL off the VA coastline.....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
2248. yonzabam
2:57 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting rmbjoe1954:
Wow. The ECMWF is predicitng El Nina reflecting a far more aggressive season; will the June National Hurricane Center forcast show an increase in the number of named stroms based on this graphic information? Will Dr. William Gray's forecast also show an increase in the number of storms based on this data?

La Nina years haven't been associated with a more active N. Atlantic hurricane season, compared to ENSO neutral years, since the mid 90s.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3560
2247. Bordonaro
2:57 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Good morning/afternoon WU Family

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
2246. myway
2:57 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Note to all. There has been a slight change to the "watch and warning" notifications this year. All watches and warnings will be posted 12 hours earlier than in the past.

Watches @ 48 hours
Warnings @ 36 hours

The change statement can be seen on the NHC website. Look @ Public information statements dated January 2, 2010.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 455
2245. TampaSpin
2:56 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
At this bouy there has been a 5mb fall in pressure the last 24hours.....

Conditions at 41048 as of
(9:50 am EDT)
1350 GMT on 05/24/2010

Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 1014.7 mb

05 23 9:50am 1019.7 mb
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20575
2243. Tazmanian
2:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5101 Comments: 118560
2242. TampaSpin
2:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
It appears 90L is in no worst shape or no better shape than Yesterday. If Shear drops some it might improve if shear increases it will deminish. Its wait and see! As long as it has the strong Divergence and Convergence it won't go away anytime soon until it gets kicked out in a couple of days by a trough.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20575
2:46 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:

Ya know, KOTG...I need one of these, too!

I guess it will up to me to develop it. :P

lol... :(

oz i will make you up one give me a minute will ya

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 200 Comments: 65901
2239. TampaSpin
2:43 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting DentalPainDMD:
is anyone having trouble getting the BP live feed working. Its prompting for a login/password>?

Nope i got it up working fine.......I was just watching for a mutant creature to swim by that has changed from the oil....:(
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20575
2:39 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
this is hurricane prep week ya all got 7 days

National Hurricane Survival Initiative
Before the Hurricane Season Begins
Develop a plan. Know your homes vulnerability to the threats above - surge, wind, and flooding. Check your supplies - water, batteries, food. For information on developing a Hurricane Supply kit, see our page on that topic. Know where you can evacuate to - friends, relatives, a hotel?

Know when to take action - Watch vs Warning
WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours. Remember that there is no such thing as a "minor hurricane." Category 1 and 2 hurricanes still can do significant damage.

Prepare before a Watch or Warning is issued and be ready to evacuate when the Watch comes or earlier if so instructed.

An Approaching Storm
As a storm approaches, you should prepare your house and your yard. Some things to consider:

Turn down the temperature on your freezer and refrigerator as low as possible. This will buy you more time in the event of a power loss. 24 to 48 hours before will cool the food. Avoid opening them whenever possible.
If you are evacuating.
Before you evacuate, call at least one person out of state to let them know your plans.
Ensure that your Hurricane Emergency Kit is fully stocked.
Charge electronic devices, for example, computers, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, razors, and the like.
Make extra ice, bag it - this will be useful to use and to keep the freezer cold.
If you have a generator, do NOT run it inside or near the house. But make sure you have fuel to run it.
Make sure your car has fuel.
Pick up yard debris - furniture, tools, decorative items, branches - anything loose that could become a missile. We have placed furniture in the pool upon occasion.
Secure boats, trailers, campers, RVs, and the like in the safest place you can find. Tie them down, anchor them, or however you can best secure them. But, take into account that there may be a storm surge.
Secure all doors and windows with locks, and shutters if available. Plywood, properly secured, can be effective. Don't forget your garage doors.
Move items that may be damaged by water to higher areas of your home if you can not take them with you if evacuating. Move them away from windows in case they are broken.
Huge items must even be secured in big storms. An engine block was found 40 or 50 feet up in a pine tree in the Homestead (actually Redlands) area after Andrew. Don't think that something is too big to be moved by the wind.
Re-check tie-downs.
Bring cars, bikes, scooters and anything like that into your garage if possible.
Bring in grills or other cooking items.
Bring in hoses, trash cans, hot tub covers, wind-chimes, plants.
Caulk and fill bathtubs - extra water comes in handy for toilets and more..
It may sound strange, but do your laundry, dishes, and take a shower. Why? Because if you lose power, having as much clean as possible will make a big difference.
Check if your pool pump should be on or off.
Close and fasten gates so they don't swing.
Close chimney flues.
Close/latch inside doors and cabinets.

If you have time, help your neighbors. Debris in their yards can easily impact your home and yard.

During a storm.

Stay inside, away from windows
Be alert for tornadoes
Stay away from flood waters and storm surge. It can be deceptively strong.
Be aware of the eye. It may be calm, but winds can and will pick up quickly and could catch you outside.
Un-plug electronic devices that are not in use to avoid surge damage.

After a Storm

Know power safety - avoid downed lines
Know food safety - what is good and for how long.
Chain saw safety is critical
Generator safety is important too
Water treatment - whether water needs to be boiled or not.
Listen to local officials
Use flashlights instead of candles
Inspect your home for damage.
Stay off roads as much as possible
You may need to super-chlorinate your pool

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 200 Comments: 65901
2236. BDAwx
2:39 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting StormW:

Well, based on the same maps, with rainfall and pressure anomalies, I'm more to believe in the increase in activity in the GOMEX.

I find it interesting to see that while the Caribbean, Tropical Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and south-eastern US have below average pressures, that the southeastern US is excluded from the above average precipitation, except for the southern tip of Florida.

I would think that with lower pressures you would see more precipitation either with low pressure systems causing this lower pressure, or it being a weakness in a typical high pressure system directing storm systems, or just Gulf of Mexico moisture that way...
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 551
2235. Thundercloud01221991
2:38 PM GMT on May 24, 2010

loop the floater in that location and you will see a center of circulation and then storms cover the center right then
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
2234. rmbjoe1954
2:38 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Wow. The ECMWF is predicitng El Nina reflecting a far more aggressive season; will the June National Hurricane Center forcast show an increase in the number of named stroms based on this graphic information? Will Dr. William Gray's forecast also show an increase in the number of storms based on this data?
Member Since: June 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2126
2233. nrtiwlnvragn
2:35 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
This week is National Safe Boating Week and National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Many NWS local forecast offices are issuing Public Information Statements on hurricanes.
These forecast offices have issued statements:
Charleston SC

Lake Charles LA

Raleigh NC

Birmingham AL

New York NY

Brownsville TX

Key West FL

Tampa Bay FL

Newport/Morehead City NC

You may need to click through "Previous Version" if the offices have issued additional Public Information Statements since this posting.

You can also just look at all Public Information Statements issued nationally, again clicking through "Previous Version" to view the various local forecast office statements.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 13267
2:32 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting MahFL:
How are we going to have an active season with all this damn shear ? The season is a bust I tell ya.
the season may bust your head once it gets started blow down your house flood out your streets no power for weeks means no ac or ice for your hot busted head come back in nov to tell me how it worked out for ya
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 200 Comments: 65901
2230. HyDrO420
2:29 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting DentalPainDMD:
is anyone having trouble getting the BP live feed working. Its prompting for a login/password>?

working live feed

Working live feed
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 87
2229. homelesswanderer
2:24 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting P451:

True. However we're dealing with anomalies and not temps. So generally the Gulf is just forecasted to come within climatology later in the season.

Maybe it's just warmer, earlier, and will eventually just reach it's climatological maximum without warming to unprecedented levels?

Oh ok. Thanks. That makes sense. I was looking at it as below normal. It was really hot in the gulf last year without it being bad. I could live with some shear for a while.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
2228. lurkn4yrs
2:23 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting StormW:

Good morning! Good to see you here again!

Glad to be back.. Nice to have an early start on the season.. Always nice to have something to track and discuss..
Member Since: August 15, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 91
2227. BDAwx
2:23 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
there's a little bit of a "banding" feature on Bermuda Radar about 100KM to the south of the islands. its a partially solid line around 6-7 pixels wide of higher reflectivity, and appears to be "rotating" east to west while the rest of the precipitation is moving south to north over top of this "band".

I don't think it says much for the organisation of this system because its a weak feature that ends with the edge of the rain. I would say that its an enhanced band of cumulus clouds that rotate into the storm's center.

Just thought I'd make a note of it. :)
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 551
2226. CaicosRetiredSailor
2:23 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Good morning,

So far, no outage...

May 21, 2010: Systems maintenance will be performed on the GOES East and GOES West satellite antenna coaxial cables Monday May 24, 2010. Please expect outages of these data streams that day.

Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6126
2225. DentalPainDMD
2:22 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
is anyone having trouble getting the BP live feed working. Its prompting for a login/password>?
Member Since: May 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
2223. weathermanwannabe
2:17 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Shear will gradually start to lower, as it does every year in the MDR, in June and continue dropping into the heart of the season; particularly if El Nina conditions emerge which will considerably weaken the upper level westerlies.........Patience........Once the shear weakens, and it certainly will, all hell will probably break loose.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 14214
2221. aspectre
2:15 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Same ol' joke, MahFL. And same ol' responses, guys.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
2218. SouthDadeFish
2:08 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting MahFL:
How are we going to have an active season with all this damn shear ? The season is a bust I tell ya.

Its May..... Seriously?
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2449
2217. MahFL
2:07 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
How are we going to have an active season with all this damn shear ? The season is a bust I tell ya.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 6701
2216. nrtiwlnvragn
2:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
ABNT20 KNHC 241356
955 AM EDT MON MAY 24 2010




Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 13267
2215. HyDrO420
2:04 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Morning all.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 87
2212. TampaTom
1:54 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Here for day one of the Governor's Hurricane Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. I'm pitching in at the Basic PIO class right now, but I'm going to be spending some serious time tomorrow interviewing Bill Read, Dr. Gray and many others...

The number of folks here this year is way down. Such a shame.
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
2211. reedzone
1:53 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
90l has not organized last night as I thought, due to dry air and some spurts of high shear. Although shear has lowered tremendesly over the systems yesterday from the shear is's been in. Graphs show that the system has warmed a bit and has become more symmetrical, I'm also seeing a new circulation tucked in the convection, south where the new bursts of convection are at, they finally moved the floater north.. Look near 28.8N 69.9W
Does anyone see what I'm seeing?

IF this is a new low forming, it could convince me that the system is trying to transition this morning.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7800
2210. USSINS
1:50 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Good morning, StormW and all.

Storm, when do you expect the strong westerly shear in the GOM to relax? Or the sTropical jet to move far enough northwards? TIA.
2208. JamesSA
1:48 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting StormW:

No..for ASO, I wouldn't expect anomalies to drop off that quick...what I'm eluding to is an increase in tropical activity in the Gulf.

Thanks. Should be an 'interesting' season!
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 584
2207. kingy
1:46 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
the oil webcam shows the oil is black and flowing real fast. A barrel every 2 seconds equates to 43,000 barrels a day, if that were the case it would be nearly 9 times the initial estimations.

2205. IKE
1:45 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting StormW:

No problem Ike...the ECMWF is supposedly the most accurate...and based on steering layers forecast analysis...looks like this very well may stay offshore. That's why I always post, I will continue to we have all seen that things DO change...Oh...BTW, it would be OK to doubt forecasts aren't perfect!

No...I'm not doubting you or your forecast on 90L.

I was just talking about the ECMWF SST anomaly forecast for several months out.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 38327
2202. homelesswanderer
1:37 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Ok y'all. He was asked about where he thought the Bermuda high would be. The above normal ssts in the mdr would show a negative NAO. Lighter winds but more western set BH. Which in turn draws the tracks closer to the U.S. And those models could very well be showing upwelling in the GOM. And it's only his opinion. Like he was asked.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
2201. Tropicsweatherpr
1:32 PM GMT on May 24, 2010
Quoting Skyepony:
Good Morning everyone~ Bandu is gone but we have a Laila reprise. It's close to the shore, probably won't develop much.. Nice microwave..

About Bandu ,you see the remains crossing Africa and emerge as a strong wave?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 76 Comments: 16817

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