What Hurricanes?


News reports today say that BP’s contingency plan did NOT factor in hurricanes. You’ve got to file this one under “tell me you’re kidding.” When you’re working in open water 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana, it doesn’t take a degree in meteorology and planning to know that you need to take an enormous factor like hurricanes into account….unless, of course, the clowns writing the plan live in England and have no idea how devastating the storms get down on the Gulf in the summer. Yet another stunning example of BP being asleep at the switch.

Now that Hurricane Alex has already begun to disrupt containment and cleanup efforts with 12-foot waves, we’ll see how BP’s complete lack of planning affects things. Since it appears nobody over there can tell a hurricane from a tumbleweed, here are some of the basics, as we move into the heart of storm season down here:

–The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an “active to extremely active” 2010 hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin.

–For the six-month hurricane season, which began June 1, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood that 14 to 23 named storms will emerge, including 8 to 14 hurricanes. Of those, 3 to 7 could be Category 3 hurricanes or stronger.

–2010 projections are significantly higher than the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Alex is just the first of many storms that could impact containment and cleanup efforts in the Gulf, and without any formal plans in place at BP’s nerve center, we can only hope that we get awfully lucky. But that, of course, would be an enormous change from the way things have been going.

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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