Miami Beach Could Be Affected By Oil Spill, More So Than West Coast

The devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has concerned us, but we didn't think it would actually reach the beaches of Miami and other east coast shores. However, a University of Florida oceanographic engineer says that the east coast of Florida is at greater risk than most of the state's Gulf Coast.

Y. Peter Sheng, coastal and oceanographic engineer, tells The Gainsville Sun that based on new models the oil slick could get caught in a loop current which would redirect it to the Florida Straits, up into the Gulf Stream, and ultimately up the east cast.

"I would say the East Coast of Florida has the higher probability [of being impacted by the oil spill]," said Sheng, adding that his opinion is based on NOAA's ocean current forecast and wind direction. He said until the slick gets to shallow water, wind will not greatly impact the oil slick's movement.

If the oil slick doesn't get into the loop current, which would rapidly send the oil around the tip of Florida in a week, the wind direction would have to change from west to east in order to push the slick toward the western Florida peninsula.

Sheng didn't elaborate on what kind of damage we could see, but says that every beach from Miami to Jacksonville could be affected.

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