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2008's Hurricanes Will Hurt Us
Season has gotten off to a cracking start
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-22 11:04 (KST)   
Recently, Hurricane Bertha made history as the storm with the longest lifespan on record, at around 13 days. The storm rapidly evolved into a Category 3 hurricane, an unusual achievement very early in the hurricane season.

Right now there are five storm systems gyrating in the Western Hemisphere. The most potent is Hurricane Fausto, a Category 2 storm with 85 mph winds churning in the Pacific Ocean off the United States' western seaboard. A low-pressure area 325 miles south of the beach resort area of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, has a high probability of following in Fausto's footsteps. Tropical Storm Cristobel, on the Atlantic side of the US, is drenching the eastern seaboard, particularly the Carolinas.

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Dolly the Most Dangerous

The most dangerous system at present is Tropical Storm Dolly, poised on the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, with already stiff 50-mph winds (hurricanes are classified as storms with wind speeds exceeding 74 mph). Mexico's Pemex oil company has already closed at least one export terminal at Cayo Arcas in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Bloomberg article. Expectations are that Dolly will strengthen quickly as she moves across the Gulf, heading in the direction of Brownsville, Texas, which is situated along the Mexican border.

Hurricanes Hit Oil Prices

Oil prices have risen at least 1 percent based on the weather news, with Brent Crude on its way to $132 a barrel after dipping under $130 last week. Even if Dolly fizzles, the National Hurricane Center in the US has already identified a large and "well-defined" tropical wave off western Africa, which may experience major developmental changes over the course of the next day or so.

Given that the US hurricane season peaks in September, these already high levels of activity, including Bertha's record-breaking track, and the early appearance of muscular and potentially disruptive systems in vital areas (such as Dolly), we can anticipate upward fluctuations in resource prices thanks to these extreme weather effects.

Energy Cycle

The whirling clockwork of hurricane wind systems warn of a deeper cycle at work. It is a system based on human beings dredging the oceans and subterranean crevasses of oil, recycling these endowments rapidly into combustion in cars and factories (producing heat and pollution) and then the atmosphere recycling these massive daily energy injections first into warm tropical waters and from there, powering up the engines of more and more storm systems. Ironically, these selfsame storms seem to focus their "eyes" on the oil-rich platforms of the Gulf.

It is not unlikely that 2008 will see the most destructive systems since Ivan and Katrina. 2005 was the busiest storm season on record, and its 11th storm, Katrina first struck southern Florida on Aug. 25 (as a Category 1 storm) before venturing into the Gulf of Mexico and transforming into a Category 5 behemoth.

Katrina had sustained winds that reached 175 mph. Its central pressure reached a minimum 902 millibars, a value for an Atlantic hurricane that the National Climatic Data Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) reported as the fourth lowest on record. Katrina caused around $125 billion in damage -- the most destructive US storm ever recorded.

Hurricane activity peaks between Aug. 18 and Oct. 18.The anniversary period for Katrina -- August 25 -- is a month away. The hurricane season ends in four months, on Nov. 30.
For more on the writer, visit www.nickvanderleek.com.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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