CB2: Storm=Brewing, Well=Capped!

It hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, but Florida residents need to keep an eye on what could become Tropical Storm Bonnie heading their way this weekend. Keep an eye out for a special edition CB2 should Bonnie pose a serious threat.
Forecast track

While the National Hurricane Center won’t have a cone graphic until the storm is better formed, we do have six forecast, or “spaghetti” models for predicting the storm’s path. All seem to agree that Florida is the target a few days from now.

Intensity
There is a good chance that 97L will become Tropical Storm Bonnie in the next five days but unlikely that it will have time to organize into a hurricane before reaching Florida. Rains from the storm could begin in South Florida as early as Thursday night. It’s too early to speculate what will happen when it crosses over into the Gulf, so we’ll hold off on any “what about the oil” discussions for now.
Small storms can equal big disasters
Even small storms can bring lots of rain, and that’s a recipe for flooding. More recently, Tropical Storm Fay (August, 2008) was declared a “catastrophic” event by Governor Crist, with over 5 feet of water in some areas of Brevard County. For this among other reasons, I treat each storm threat seriously, whether or not it’s at hurricane strength.


Finally, the well is capped!
People all over the world rejoiced for 5 minutes before getting back to work and forgetting about the spill last Thursday. But in all seriousness, BP is very close to having the well sealed for good, and the next week is still crucial. The building pressure from the rising oil and gasses could still cause the cap to fail if not permanently sealed soon.

One of the relief wells I presented two weeks ago may intersect the problem well this weekend, enabling heavy drilling mud and debris to effectively “bottom-kill” the well 5,000 feet underground. BP is simultaneously seeking approval to retry the “top-kill” operation that failed in May, except this time pumping through the cap currently in place. We all prefer the bottom-kill method as that poses the least risk of additional oil releasing into the Gulf.
Either way, I’m optimistic that by this time next week the well will be over and done with and we can start refocusing on the cleanup and recovery efforts.

Website of the Week: Weather Underground
What’s my primary source for hurricane information? I turn to Dr. Jeff Masters’ Weather Underground. His blog is as good as it gets when it comes to storm analysis.

Read Last Week’s CB2: Will We Ever Prepare for Disasters?

About Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.

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Profile Photo Chris Bennett

Well, I realized I finished the blog without the usual comical picture… then upon scanning what I wrote saw the word “spaghetti” and the rest is history. He’s clickable…. the hyperlink will explain it all 🙂