Tag Archives: storms

The Gulf Of Mexico becomes Hurricane Alley

Gustav and Hanna are both predicted to be 'big ones'In the sixties, Roger Zelazny wrote ‘Damnation Alley’, in which Hell Tanner drives from Los Angeles to Boston in a land ravaged by near constant hurricanes and tornadoes in an attempt to deliver a life-saving plague vaccine. While we’re nowhere near that doomsday scenario, this year’s hurricane season is certainly hotting up.

Hurricane Gustav is crossing Cuba into the centre of the Gulf of Mexico today, with many of the simulations projecting it to land as a strength three hurricane somewhere in Louisiana on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, a few days further out in the Atlantic tropical storm Hanna (the eighth named storm of the year) is growing steadily and is also projected to land as a hurricane next weekend anywhere from Florida to Mexico. It may or may not enter the Gulf.

Further out than that a number of other weather systems are beginning to form in the infamous ‘hurricane alley’, creating a conveyor belt of large storms. High ocean temperatures of 28-32 degrees in the Gulf of Mexico in particular are increasing the size of intensity of these systems. When the sea temperatures are above 26 degrees, a tropical storm or hurricane above it will intensify. Below that level the cyclone begins to unravel. With Ocean temperatures high and a number of storms forming, the Southeast coast of the US and the caribbean are in for a pounding over the next few weeks. Oil experts are already beginning to predict problems for oil production, with large percentages of US oil production and refining taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. While it would be inaccurate to link a single hurricane to climate change, if tropical ocean temperatures remain high, the residents at the end of hurricane rally will have to expect more storms.

[via The Oil Drum, Gustav weather picture via Weather Underground]

80% of Mexican state underwater, oil production halts

Mexico is struggling with all the water with further rain on the wayFollowing on from the recent fires across California, another catastrophe less widely reported is the flooding in Mexico. Tabasco is a southern state the size of Belgium and following storms and heavy rain, 80% of the land is underwater, with close to 100% of crops lost, around half of the two million population evacuated and production of crude in the oil-rich region at a standstill. The governor of the state has compared the situation for the 350,000 in the state capital Villahermosa to New Orleans post-Katrina and the rebuilding time is likely to be as long.

Like any natural disaster it would be hard to pinpoint this extreme weather directly on global warming but there has definitely been a large number of big-scale environmental catastrophes over the last few years. Whatever the cause, the damage to Mexico’s already-ailing oil industry will be a severe disruption and push us ever closer to the scary prospect of $100 barrels of oil.

[via Daily Kos, image by _…:::Celoide:::…_]