Hurricane Season Could Blow BP Oil Spill Into Bigger Disaster
With BP’s delay - again - of the ‘top hat’ operation to plug the gulf of mexico oil leak, the arrival on June 1 of the official hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico has observers wondering if a horrific problem is about to get much, much worse.
From the day the BP disaster began on April 20, clean-up and containment efforts have been greatly affected by the weather. Initial response to the leak was delayed because of high winds and choppy water. Now a month into the worst environmental crime in history, weather could take a strong hand in quickly spreading the huge oil leak into Gulf areas it has not yet reached.
According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NOAA), the number and ferocity of hurricanes this season could surpass that of 2005 - the year that brought us Katrina. Studies with ‘drifter’ buoys have shown that even a storm with relatively mild 40-knot winds can scatter objects throughout the Gulf area. A severe hurricane often has winds reaching 130 knots. This would not only pull oil into the air above the surface of the water, but also churn it deep underwater.
The only hope is that one of the factors that contribute to extreme hurricanes does not develop. NOAA plans to announce the 2010 hurricane season outlook on May 27.