As Hurricane Season Kicks Off, Gulf Oil Worries Grow

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As if the oil disaster weren’t enough, today is the first day of hurricane season. As Julia Whitty noted last week, hurricanes imperil the thousands of miles of oil pipelines that snake across the Gulf. The storms also threaten to churn up the millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf, pushing the slick further on land and spreading it out over a larger area.

Forecasters have predicted an above average hurricane season this year, which lasts through November. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that 2010 will be an “active to extremely active” year. The agency forecasts between 14 and 23 named storms this year, and 8 to 14 of those will become hurricanes. Between 3 and 7 of those of those will qualify as major hurricanes—with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or more. There’s a 44 percent chance of a strong hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast this year.

“If this outlook holds true,” warned NOAA head Jane Lubchenco, “this season could be one of the more active on record.”

Unfortunately, the Deepwater Horizon site lies right in the middle of the paths previous Gulf hurricanes have taken to land, including Ivan, Katrina, and Dennis. The Pew Environment Group put together this map showing how the major hurricanes in the region in recent years and the BP spill would collide:

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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