Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 7, 2013, 8:40 a.m. EST by GirlFriday
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Anyone familiar with the meteorology of the North Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska knows that this region is one of the stormiest on the planet with one major storm after another during midwinter. Unbelievably, a Shell Oil spokesman said, that forecasts indicated a favorable two-week weather window. This is at odds with the facts. First, as I will show below the forecasts on the day they left clearly suggested the potential for big storms during the 3-4 week voyage to Seattle, including the first week. Second, forecast skill drops substantially after 4-6 days and thus there was no guarantee of fair weather for this difficult tow.
Lets take a look at the surface charts during a few points in this ill-favored trip.
The bottom line is that based on climatology and the forecasts available throughout the period, this was no time to be doing a very difficult tow over the northern Gulf of Alaska.