Force 10 Storm Aims for UK and Norwegian Offshore Oil Platforms

Rob Almeida
Total Views: 141
January 6, 2014

As the ice thickens in Thunder Bay, Canada underneath a polar vortex which has brought temperatures down to 26 degrees below F, and wind chills at negative 51 degrees (as I type this) a winter “hurricane” is churning up seas of 20 meters or more in the North Atlantic west of the British Isles.

Surfers in Portugal are no doubt eagerly anticipating legendary waves to hit their shores, however a storm of this magnitude is certainly causing a bit of worry for merchant vessels working the transatlantic trade who might be in the path of this monster, as well as oil and gas assets offshore the UK and Norway.  Such concern is amplified considering the recent structural issues found in the containership MSC Monterey which had to duck into a Canadian harbor after a significant crack was found in its deck.

Stu Ostro from the Weather Channel shared the following image on his Facebook page last night of winter storm “Hercules” in the North Atlantic.

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NOAA’s most recent sea-state analysis shows significant wave heights of 20 meters in the center of this storm.  Much larger waves are possible however as this only indicates the average height of the highest one-third of the waves.

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The track of the storm will bring it north of the UK resulting in Force 9 to Force 10 winds in the North Sea and offshore Norway.  Gale warnings extend from the Strait of Gibraltar north through Norway.

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click for larger

Here’s the wind flow, animated. Via Earth

storm hercules animated

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