Thursday, July 22, 2010

Trouble in the Tropics--Update

Here's the current position of the low pressure system in the Caribbean, along with plots of the latest long range forecasts.  The model guidance is tightly clustered (except for two outliers). The guidance suggests that the system will pass through Straits of Florida and enter the Gulf over the weekend.  There is a strong likelihood that it could develop into a Hurricane before reaching the central Gulf Coast.

This will almost certainly result in an evacuation of the surface fleet at the Deepwater Horizon site, with orders likely coming today.

Clicking the image displays a larger view.

UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center is initiating coverage of the system as a Tropical Depression, with watches and warnings going up at 11:00 am EDT. New model outputs won't be available until later this afternoon.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.


Syl said...

Do you think they will really open the cap if they evacuate? That would be madness, it's 5 miles down after all.

David L. said...

It's a judgment call I wouldn't want to have to make. If you don't open the cap and the unmonitored well blows out down-hole, you have a much bigger problem. But what's the probability that a well held in check for almost a week will suddenly go BOOM if it's not monitored?

If you do open the cap, you also run the risk of sand eroding valves during the outflow of hydrocarbons while spilling millions more gallons of oil into the gulf.

If it were me, I'd leave the cap on because while the consequences of a down-hole blowout are huge, the likelihood of incurring them are small.

David L. said...

Clarifying: I'm glad I don't have to make that decision but if I did, I'd leave it in place.

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