The latest report is that scientists predict millions of gallons of crude oil, already in the Gulf of Mexico, could hit the Florida Keys by this weekend, according to a News4Jax report.
Though no one knows how much, it is possible that the oil already spilled can get caught in something called the loop current, which is a ribbon of warm water originating in the Gulf and wrapping around Florida up on the Atlantic side. A University of Miami oceanographer says it’s only a question of when oil in the loop that would bring it to the Keys and beyond that would hurt wildlife and coral reefs. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary draws millions of tourists every year who snorkel, fish and replenish the state’s economy. If the oil continues further up the loop it could even travel as far north as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The oil is not expected to go north of Cape Canaveral before it becomes more diluted and is carried out to sea.
So far about 2 dozen tar balls up to eight inches wide have been found off Key West, undoubtedly contributing to growing concern among residents in Florida. A lab analysis will show their origin. This weekend BP, British Petroleum, lowered a stopper and tube to siphon off some of the oil with some success. The tube is funneling more than 42,000 gallons of crude oil into a tanker ship from the doomed well. That represents about 20% of what is gushing into the Gulf each day. Millions of gallons remain in the Gulf and some of the oil found under the sea where researchers report a miles-long plume could suffocate sea life and last for a decade or more. Florida oil spill economic loss attorneys are concerned with the accumulation of damages amidst various homeowners and businesses throughout the state and will stay informed on the most recent events as they unfold.