The potential impacts of a hurricane in the Gulf - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

The potential impacts of a hurricane in the Gulf

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By Alyssa Corfont

Efforts have been ongoing to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly a month now. With every day that passes we get a day closer to the start of hurricane season, which forecasters are expecting to be more active than normal. Phil Hysell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg says there's two ways of looking at this scenario, "I think there's two ways to look at this, the impact on the tropical system on the oil spill and the impact of the oil spill on the tropical system."

The track of which a tropical system could potentially take would make a big difference in this scenario. If a storm would track along the eastern side of the Gulf it may not have as big of an impact as if it were to travel to the Texas or Louisiana coast.

Hysell said, “I think the worst case scenario would be if the tropical system would move in the western Gulf, the counter-clockwise flow would push the spill further north, into the Northern Gulf States."

Other predictions say that the strong winds associated with a tropical system could break apart the spill dispersing into tiny particles, making it easier on the natural environment to ingest but impacting a larger area. On the other hand the oil could block the transfer of warm water from the ocean to the storm, prohibiting it from strengthening.

Time will tell which one of these scenarios pans out, but remember, it only takes one storm, "The important thing to remember here is it just takes one system to potentially cause a loss of life and property and with regards to the oil slick, it only takes one storm in the gulf coast region to alter that oil slick” said Hysell.

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