Scientist: "Oil Could Make It From Louisiana All the Way to Miami in a Week"
|via US Coast Guard|
|Crews trying to put out the flame after the initial explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.|
The worst-cast scenario involves the oil being caught up in the Loop Current, which would then feed it to the Florida Strait into the Gulf Stream and ultimately up the Atlantic Coast. In fact, if the oil reaches the Loop Current, it could hit Miami in less than a week.
"It could make it from Louisiana all the way to Miami in a week, maybe less." said Eric Chassignet, director of the Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University. "It is pretty fast."Similar past events have spread "red tide," the fish-killing algal bloom, from the Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast.
Right now, some computer models show the spill 30 to 50 miles north of the loop current. If the onshore winds turn around and push the oil further south: "That would be a nightmare," said Yonggang Liu, research associate at the University of South Florida who models the current. "Hopefully we are lucky, but who knows. The winds are changing and difficult to predict."
Meanwhile, emergency crews are trying to shut off the spill at the source, an underwater well, but admit it could take weeks to control.