Scientists predicted today that the BP oil spill has a 61-80 percent chance of reaching South Florida. Unlike the west coast, which is likely to not be affected at all, the Florida Keys, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami have "a greater probability
due to the potential influence of the Loop Current," according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The NOAA came to its conclusion by considering 500 different prediction models, assuming a 90-day oil flow rate of 33,000 barrels
per day. "If oil were to reach South Florida, it could arrive in the form of pancakes of brown oil, streamers of pudding-like emulsified oil, or very thin sheen," according to the report. This is apparently supposed to be a good thing, but, it still sounds really foul.
The oil spill has been our scariest boogeyman this summer, other than those Wade-hungry Knicks of course, threatening every other week to spoil our summer vacation. In May, everyone freaked out when tar balls washed up on the Keys. Except they turned out to be totally passe tar balls not from the Gulf.
But this time it looks for real. Take a look at this graphic.
The red represents those areas most likely to get hit. That's a 61-80 percent chance for South Florida. On the other hand, the scientists write that the oil will have spent a good amount of time degrading and dispersing in the ocean so the most we should get are gross tar balls or scattered patches of "weathered oil." Yes, that is reassuring. Have a good weekend!
[via The Awl]
Update: The NOAA has released a clarifying statement: don't panic yet! "NOAA's long-term projection model released yesterday focused on the possible
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long-term shoreline threats," the statement reads. "Current conditions, especially given the absence of a significant amount of
Deepwater Horizon/BP oil from the loop current, indicate that immediate threats
to the Florida Keys, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale areas remain low."