Disturbance threatening Gulf of Mexico may become Tropical Storm Bonnie

By Phaedra Friend Troy

A tropical wave currently situated near Hispaniola and Puerto Rico is threatening to become Tropical Storm Bonnie as it enters the Gulf of Mexico later this week. 

Look to PennEnergy’s Global Offshore Weather Report daily to find out the most up-to-date information about this storm, as well as wind, weather and wave information for the four busiest offshore regions worldwide.

Tropical Disturbance 22 is currently located about 790 miles southeast of Miami, moving in a west-northwesterly direction at a clip of 10 miles per hour, reports global weather authority ImpactWeather.

“On the current forecast and track, it is expected to move near extreme southern Florida, the Florida Keys, by Friday,” reported ImpactWeather meteorologist Lauren Whisenhunt. “Thunderstorm squalls will begin to affect that region late Thursday into early Friday.”

Currently, the storm has a 60 percent chance of strengthening into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center reported.

“As it enters the Gulf of Mexico, it is expected to take more of a northwesterly turn, and it looks to make landfall between the mouth of the Mississippi into the Big Bend Florida region by Sunday evening,” revealed Wisenhunt.

“Thunderstorms squalls will begin to affect the deepwater lease areas southeast of Louisiana as early as Saturday.” 

Oil and Gas Operations Affected by the Storm

Myriad oil and gas production facilities may be in the path of the storm, as well as the oil spill and Macondo operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

No operators or drillers have reported evacuations, production shut-ins or drilling curtailments as of yet. 

A hurricane directly hitting the oil spill response may prove a double-edged sword.

BP has been working to better weather any oncoming storms, deploying a new oil spill containment system using floating risers and the Helix Producer FPU. Additionally, production from the blown-out Macondo well is currently shut-in via the new sealing cap assembly.

Oil spill clean up measures are displaced during adverse weather, stopping controlled burns and skimming operations during high winds and waves. on the other hand, the NOAA reports that major winds and waves may help to hasten the biodegradation process of the oil spill.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season is forecasted to be “extremely active,” with up to 23 named storms expected and up to 14 hurricanes traveling through the Gulf of Mexico. 

Read ImpactWeather's lead hurricane forecaster Chris Hebert's TropicsWatch Blog on PennEnergy, discussing this storm and more to come this season.

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