Colorado university sees busy Atlantic hurricane season
Forecasters at Colorado State University in an April 9 report are predicting this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will be busier than ever, posing a potential threat to oil and gas operators along the US Gulf Coast.
“We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” the report from the university’s tropical meteorology project predicts.
The probability that at least one storm stronger than a category 3 hurricane, the low-point for classification as a major hurricane, will make landfall in the continental United States is 69%, above the 52% average for the last century.
For the East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, there is a 45% chance of a major hurricane, above the century average of 31%.
From the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas – a region that covers the oil- and gas-rich PADD 3 – there is a 44% chance of a major storm, compared with the 30% average over the last century.
Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was amongst the busiest and most costly on record. The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported that five named hurricanes – Marco, Laura, Sally, Delta and Zeta – and Tropical Storm Cristobal impacted oil and gas production last year. Of the 30 named storms in the 2020 season, 13 developed into hurricanes.
At its peak, Zeta, the last storm to make landfall, idled 1.6mn b/d of oil production, about 84% of total oil output from the US Gulf, and 1.6 bn ft3/day of natural gas production, about 58% of output. Peak outages were reported October 29 by BSEE.
The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June to November.