By Phaedra Friend Troy
Two leading hurricane prediction groups have recently revised their forecasts for the number of storms they expect during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. While the numbers vary, both foresee a busy couple of months for the offshore petroleum industry.
Look to PennEnergy’s Global Offshore Weather Report daily to find out the most up-to-date wind, weather and wave information for the four busiest offshore regions worldwide.
Global weather authority ImpactWeather recently updated its 2010 Atlantic hurricane outlook, forecasting at least one major hurricane to enter the Gulf of Mexico.
The revised storm outlook calls for six named storms to enter the Gulf of Mexico over the next few months, of which three are forecast to be hurricanes and one a major storm.
The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has already produced Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storm Bonnie, which shut-in production and required offshore evacuations on oil and gas facilities and drilling rigs.
“We can expect to see five more named storms in the Gulf,” advised Fred Schmude, meteorologist and StormWatch manager with ImpactWeather. “Two will be hurricanes and one a major hurricane.”
As with Tropical Storm Colin in the Atlantic right now, not all the storms that form during this season are destined to enter the Gulf of Mexico.
“Roughly 35 to 40 percent of all cyclones reached the Gulf during our primary analogs, meaning if we are calling for 18 named storms that would put our number closer to six or seven named storms reaching the Gulf,” revealed Schmude.
Additionally, the Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team called for a “very active” hurricane season, updating its hurricane forecast for this season to reflect a tropical cyclone activity level 195 percent above average.
The William Gray-led team is predicting 10 hurricanes – five of which will be major storms, meaning a Category 3, 4 or 5. The group also expects 18 named tropical storms.
The group pinned its prediction on the combining hurricane-friendly factors of warm waters and decreased wind sheer.
“The probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the US coastline is 75 percent compared with the last-century average of 52 percent,” said William Gray.
The group predicts a 49 percent chance that a major hurricane will strike the US Gulf Coast.
While BP has successfully shut-in oil and gas flow from its Macondo well and the static kill is in progress, the relief well operations could be disrupted by major storm activity in the Gulf of Mexico.
Additionally, oil and gas producers and offshore drillers have already pulled crews, shut-in production and stalled drillbits due to the first few storms of the season.
With crude oil reaching near $83 a barrel this week, commodity prices could also be affected by the interruption in production these major storms produce.
Watch ImpactWeather’s August update to its 2010 hurricane season outlook NOW.
How many hurricanes will the 2010 season produce?
By Phaedra Friend Troy