Unusual summer nor’easter brings heavy rain, gales and rough seas to the coastal Atlantic

An abnormally strong low pressure system impacted the Mid-Atlantic States over the weekend. During the time of year when attention usually turns to the tropics, a winter-like Nor’easter lashed areas from D.C. to Atlantic City. The storm was spawned by a broad 500mb Analysis valid 12z 29 July 2017deep-layer trough diving into the northeastern United States from Ontario. An extended area of surface low pressure formed on Friday morning. This low stretched from Boston southwestward through West Virginia before becoming organized over Virginia during the afternoon hours. Above average sea-surface temperatures allowed ample moisture to push across the Delmarva Peninsula toward the nation’s capital. Widespread heavy rain showers developed Friday afternoon and evening, and flash flood warnings were issued from D.C. to Baltimore. Before the storm wound down on Saturday, over four inches of rain had fallen across Maryland’s most populous city, with areas to the east seeing almost six inches of rainfall.

Conditions were no better offshore, where Gale Warnings were issued from Morehead City, North Carolina to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As the system was developing, model guidance indicated the potential for wind gusts near 70mph offshore, which is near hurricane force. Fortunately, these extreme winds did not materialize, but widespread sustained winds in excess of 35mph were noted from the Chesapeake Bay northeastward toward Rhode Island. This allowed seas to become quite rough, with significant heights pushing 12 feet just off the coast of Delaware Saturday evening.

The unseasonable strong storm finally subsided on Sunday while quickly moving east of the region. Although not tropical in nature, this weekend’s system was a reminder that the East Coast is entering the time of year where weather becomes the forefront of the mind, and this could be even more the case this August, as it looks to be particularly active in the tropics. Stay tuned!

Why we treat some Invest areas like tropical storms…

It’s critical that offshore operators are aware of tropical hazards well in advance of tropical storm development. 

Tropical Storm Bill, June 16 2015
Infrared Satellite of Tropical Storm Bill approaching the Texas coast.

Two years ago we were monitoring an area of disturbed weather near the Yucatan Peninsula. At the time, forecast models indicated that a trough of low pressure would move offshore the Yucatan within the next 24 hours and form a closed circulation as it tracked northwest toward the Texas coastal bend. Hurricane Carlos, off the southern coast of Mexico, was feeding in abundant tropical moisture from the Pacific, aiding thunderstorm development. Over the next few days, upper-level winds over the Gulf weakened, enhancing convection and improving the low-level circulation. Within 36 hours a tropical storm was designated over the northern Gulf of Mexico. About 15 hours later, Tropical Storm Bill made landfall over Matagorda Island, Texas with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph.Read More »

Hurricane Preparedness: Offshore Operations

Tropical cyclones have significant impacts on marine operations worldwide. Prior to experiencing tropical cyclone threats, offshore facilities must secure equipment, shut-in wells, and evacuate personnel. Operations can remain shut down for extended periods in the event that an offshore platform or rig is damaged or destroyed. Damaged pipelines along the seafloor are a common cause of interruptions to oil and gas supply.

To prevent structural damage and spills, control costs, and ensure the safety of personnel, accurate weather forecasts and advanced notification of tropical hazards are paramount. Even a weak tropical cyclone can produce hazardous weather conditions and put coastal and offshore operators at risk. Be sure to determine your exposure to the risks associated with tropical cyclones before the start of this Atlantic hurricane season.

Wilkens Weather provides a suite of online and mobile tracking tools to warn our customers of these risks. To be confident that you’re prepared this hurricane season, trust in the tropical expertise and tools provided by WWT: Read More »

Celebrating 40 Years: Thank You to Our Clients

In 1977, WWT began with a few meteorologists striving to provide offshore forecasts for the oil and gas industry. Within 40 years, WWT has grown from what once was a four-man team, to a trusted global metocean business providing forecasts and hindcasts for every major oil basin.

In addition to our daily operations, WWT has supported unique forecasts for:

  • The U.S.’s first offshore wind farm near Rhode Island
  • Tall ship races throughout several regions of Europe
  • Weather analysis for the area where the Costa Concordia tipped over offshore Italy
  • Weather analysis for Tycoon, that ran aground near Christmas Island

Read More »

WWT at OTC 2017

Wilkens Weather adapts to the future of offshore energy

WWT Technology / WWL

For 36 years, Wilkens Weather Technologies has exhibited at the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), showcasing its products and services with professionals of the global oil and gas industry. Although oil prices have rallied in recent weeks, the demand for more cost-effective solutions continues. WWT is mindful of the challenges the industry is facing and continues to revamp its marine and tropical forecasting products to stay ahead of client demands.

At this event, WWT meteorologists align with other energy professionals to explore growth opportunities, strengthen partnerships, and foster new business relationships. WWT program manager, Ryan Fulton, shares his insight on this valuable networking experience:Read More »

Where are the Christmas Winds?

The climate of Trinidad is strongly influenced by the North Atlantic High, also referred to as the Bermuda High or Azores High, based on its seasonal positioning. During the fall season, the Atlantic High moves southward in response to the southward push of low pressure systems and their associated cold fronts over North America and the North Atlantic. The high’s southward position and lower sea surface temperatures, north of 10°N, result in strong easterly trade winds across the eastern Caribbean during winter. This increase in winds typically occurs around mid to late December, giving them the seasonal name: the Christmas Winds.    Read More »

Harmattan Dust in West Africa

As we approach the end of the calendar year, meteorologists, once again, encounter a significant weather phenomena that can sometimes be a challenge to forecast: The Harmattan Winds.

Harmattan winds are derived from a dry and dusty, northeasterly trade wind that originates in the Sahara. As the monsoon trough shifts south during the boreal winter, the trade winds will travel further south reaching the West Coast of Africa. This type of wind is strengthened by low pressure over the north coast of Guinea and high pressure over Northwest African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Harmattan DustAfrica. The Harmattans can carry desert dust into the Atlantic and the Gulf of Guinea leading to hazardous operations on and offshore. Another element to the strength of the Harmattan is eastward movement of a low pressure system over Europe and its subsequent surface cold front that will move over the Mediterranean into North Africa. While the cold air will mix and warm over Africa, the wind will continue to surge south carrying with it the blinding dust covering everything in its path. Crop soil from the Sahel, the region between the Sahara desert and humid savannas, can also be mixed up in the winds further dropping visibility.

The influence of the Harmattan wind can be paralyzing for those areas affected as visibilities drop to zero halting flights, increasing risk of flu and asthma and also, at times, delaying the rainy season. The delay is significant as timing of the rainy season guides the farmers of when to plant crops across this otherwise fertile middle belt.

These Harmattans usually last 2-3 days. The lack of observation stations offshore West Africa can bring a forecasting challenge amongst meteorologists worldwide. Therefore, a skilled forecaster is crucial to accurately predict the potential of a debilitating Harmattan wind.  


Wilkens Weather On-site in the Bay of Campeche

WWT Meteorologist Offshore Bay of Campeche

With today’s technologies a meteorologist could easily work from an office on the mainland. But for a highly sensitive crane operation at sea, precise forecasts are essential. Many times a meteorologist on-site may see something that a computer model could not detect. Face-to-face reassurance is important to customers, and for this project WWT Meteorologist Darrell Ferguson was there to provide confidence to the crew that weather conditions were safe enough to proceed. Read More »

Weather Forecasting in the Adriatic

WWT Adriatic Sea WaterspoutHigh terrain extending across Italy and central Europe yield a challenging environment for weather forecasting in the northern Adriatic Sea, especially during the winter months. The Alps, 120 miles wide with several peaks over 15,000 ft, block colder air to the north and often deflect it to the east over the Balkan States. The cooler air accumulates over the Balkan Peninsula, eventually reaching the height of the mountain passes. This induces a Bora, a local downslope wind effect that is common and at times violent during the cold season, usually from October through March. The Bora is one of two local winds that impact marine customers in this region. The other being Sirocco winds, a strong southeast wind, which often build over the course of a couple of days ahead of a Bora or impending low pressure system and is usually forecast with less uncertainty.Read More »

Wilkens Weather On-site in the Sea of Okhotsk

Wilkens Weather Technologies Meteorologist Offshore Sakhalin For over 30 years, Wilkens Weather meteorologists have been on-site and onboard during platform/deck installations and mobilizations in many regions globally. WWT has significant experience forecasting in the Sakhalin Island area, dating back to 1999. Strong relationships in the region led to the mobilization of WWT Meteorologist Eric Brozefsky to the Sea of Okhotsk in 2012 to provide more centralized decision-making and decision support to time and budget-sensitive projects. We reached out to Eric to learn more about his offshore experience:

“During the summer of 2012, WWT meteorologists provided on-site meteorological support for a GBS (Gravity Based Structure) installation, LMU installations, and subsea work in preparation for a topside installation in 2014.Read More »

Probability-based simulation tool from Wilkens Weather improves weather decision-making

STAVANGER, Norway- A new interactive simulation tool from Wilkens Weather Technologies (WWT) is helping offshore oil, gas and marine companies improve their weather-related decision making. The solution, EnsembleSimulator, uses probability-based forecasts to clearly identify working weather windows for on-going marine operations.

“Traditional weather reports frequently result in uncertainty in forecast confidence because they cannot be easily quantified,” said Mark Walquist, general manager at WWT. “Our new on-demand, interactive simulation tool improves decision-making confidence by using probability in determining project weather windows, particularly for daily go/no-go decisions.” Read More »

Wilkens Weather introduces Ocean Current Guidance Forecast service

WWT Ocean Current Guidance Forecasts

Houston, USA (June 14, 2016) – Offshore oil, gas and marine companies that experience project-related disruptions from fluctuating ocean currents now have a new tool to better manage those challenges. The Wilkens Weather Technologies (WWT) Ocean Current Guidance Forecast service provides site-specific awareness of currents to give operators a clear understanding of oceanic conditions.

“We designed this service for anyone engaged in smaller scale, budget-sensitive projects where ocean current awareness is necessary, but current solutions are often cost prohibitive,” said Ryan Fulton, program manager at WWT. “This new service provides a useful current forecast and, in conjunction with daily weather forecast reports, enables operators to understand trends in oceanic conditions that can impact their projects.”Read More »

Wilkens Weather releases new tropical cyclone tracking tools for its iOS mobile app

Wilkens Weather Technologies Mobile App

Houston, USA (April 25, 2016) – Just in time for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season, Wilkens Weather Technologies® (WWT) has released a new version of its iOS Mobile App. The latest version contains a series of major upgrades to the app’s Interactive Weather Map, including a new Threat Profile feature which is now embedded within the global tropical cyclone tracking tools, allowing immediate threat identification of tropical systems with respect to customer assets.

“From real-time weather display to our cyclone tracking feature set, WWT effectively informs users of the impacts from an approaching tropical system,” said Ryan Fulton, program manager at Wilkens Weather Technologies. Read More »