Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oil Spill Update~Holding on to Hope

Sunset on Biloxi Beach on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

If you have stopped by from Shopaholic in Alabama, welcome to the swing,
My Captain John and I have been keeping up with the oil spill for a few days, we are in Ocean Springs just east of Biloxi. We like you are terrified for our beaches, and both the marine and wildlife animals that inhabit them. We know you are days away from the beginning of turtle nesting season. As animal welfare activists we are active each year in the protection of our sea turtles in your area. The timing could not be worse in our opinion. We send our prayers and best wishes to all of you. If you have pictures in the near future, please email them to I will keep everyone posted here, at the swing. To make this easier for all of you to follow I have marked both my location and your location clearly on each map.

From the weather channel. This is a little lengthy, not bad at all really, but will explain exactly what will happen. It's easy to follow, but I have highlighted certain areas if you need the quick version. I have also made personal comments in italic, throughout the article.
Will weather push oil to coast?
by Jonathan Erdman

Aside from the extreme difficulty of both containing and shutting off the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, there is concern that weather could play a role in determining whether this growing oil slick, roughly greater than the surface area of Rhode Island, eventually is driven toward beaches or fragile ecosystems along the Gulf Coast.
First, let's pinpoint the location of the oil slick. Below is a high-resolution satellite image from NASA-MODIS. The grayish colored oil slick is circled. As of this writing, the slick is about 35 miles offshore of southeast Louisiana and about 65 miles SSW of Gulf Shores, Ala. This morning's paper says the oil slick is now more than 817 square miles.

As you can see on this map I have marked myself here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Lori the Shopaholic in Gulf Shores, Alabama. In the future The Bumpkin will be marked with a heart and Lori will be marked with a sun symbol. The Shopaholic is 60-65 miles from The Bumpkin due East as the crow flies, or by water. The beaches of the Florida and Alabama coast are some of the top vacation sites in the south. This could drastically change the future of that area.

Right now, a cold front is sweeping through the Gulf Coast. West to northwest winds Tuesday will help drive the slick further offshore, not allowing it to make too much northward or westward progress.

Wednesday, north-northeast winds will diminish through the day as high pressure settles in by evening. This will be the last day in awhile that will provide favorable winds helping to keep the oil slick offshore.

The concerns begin Thursday. As high pressure shifts off to the east, and a developing storm swings out of the Rockies, winds will turn toward the southeast and increase. These winds will now help to move the oil slick toward the coast.

Pelicans on Chandeleur Islands

Due to its close proximity, the most vulnerable areas will be the Chandeleur Islands off eastern Louisiana, as well as the Delta National Wildlife Refuge southeast of Venice, La. You all remember that this was My Captain's worse fear. He is beside himself with worry about this refuge, and the hundreds of eagles that inhabit, Petit Bois, Horn, Cat, and Ship Islands. He will aid in any way he possibly can, I am sure of it, the "animal people" are prepared and attempting to be proactive, and will eventually have plans to be reactive, this is one thing I am certain we can count on.

Winds will only increase Friday into Saturday, as a frontal system approaches from the Plains, then stalls out. Unfortunately, by this weekend, the long-duration wind event could mean parts of the oil slick may approach parts of the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and far western Florida Panhandle coast.

This is very discouraging for The Captain and I, in fact he will take the camera out tomorrow to take before pictures for our story.
In fact, it's possible this long-duration southerly wind flow may continue through early next week!
Latest story in our local paper:
By HOLBROOK MOHR and CAIN BURDEAU - Associated Press Writers
BILOXI, Miss. -- This time, it's not a hurricane that threatens to wreck their livelihoods - it's a blob of black ooze slowly making its way toward the Gulf Coast.

Hotel owners, fishermen and restaurateurs are keeping anxious watch as an oil slick spreads from a wrecked drilling rig site like a giant filthy ink blot. Forecasters say it could wash ashore within days near delicate wetlands, oyster beds and pristine white beaches.

Crews have not been able to stop thousands of barrels of oil from spewing out of the sea floor since an April 20 explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead, and the cause of the explosion has not been determined.

Louis Skrmetta, 54, runs a company called Ship Island Excursions that takes tourists to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, where white-sand beaches and green water create an idyllic landscape.

"This is the worst possible thing that could happen
to the Mississippi Gulf Coast," he said. "It will wipe out the oyster industry. Shrimping wouldn't recover for years. It would kill family tourism. That's our livelihood."

As crews struggled to contain the oil slick, Coast Guard officials said Tuesday they were considering setting fire to the contaminated water to burn off the crude. Pools of oil far offshore would be trapped in special containment booms and set aflame as soon as Wednesday.

"If we don't secure this well, this could be one of the most significant oil spills in U.S. history," Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said.

A similar burn off the coast of Newfoundland in 1993 eliminated 50 to 99 percent of captured oil. However, burning the oil also creates air pollution, and the effect on marine life is unclear.

Ed Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University who's studying the oil spill, questioned whether burning would work.

"It can be effective in calm water, not much wind, in a protected area," he said. "When you're out in the middle of the ocean, with wave actions, and currents, pushing you around, it's not easy."

He has another concern: The oil samples from the spill he's looked at shows it to be a sticky substance similar to roofing tar.

"I'm not super optimistic. This is tarry crude that lies down in the water," he said. "But it's something that has got to be tried."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, birds and mammals are more likely to escape a burning area of the ocean than escape from an oil slick. The agency said birds might be disoriented by the plumes of smoke, but they would be at much greater risk from exposure to oil in the water.
Could this be their only hope?
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

The Captain will attempt a boat ride today to see what's going on first hand, and perhaps take a few pictures for you. I will keep you all updated throughout the next few days.


Captain John and The Bumpkin


I'maNolaGirl said...

Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking. Sending the Gulf Coast all my love and thoughts!

Meg said...

Oh Bumpkin! This is horrible!!! I am praying for all the little turtles! :-(

Thanks for the update.

Meg xoxo

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

Thanks for this update. I am so sorry that this has happened and I am praying with all my might that a miracle will keep your beaches and animals safe.

Elle said...

Oh Bumpkin... what a terrible scary thing to be hovering just on the horizon... Thank you for the update, and for future updates... Uggghhh I just don't even have words for how sick I feel over this....

Geez Louise♥ said...

I am heartbroken over this. All those little animals, I hope God keeps them safe.
Hubbs being in the Coast Guard we know a few friends from Elizabeth City, Nc, that are flying all over the coast today all day and will be on duty tracking this disaster in the making, seeing the damage it has already caused and what it will bring if they don't set fire. They flew out early this morning. They will be charting and recording everything they see and Im probably not even suppose to tell you that, but I am, because I know you are worried. So maybe this eases your mind a little. Thanks for the update too! Hope your day is going swell!

Salt said...

You are in my thoughts and thank you again for the update, and the maps so that we can all see exactly what's happening. This is heartbreaking.

BTW you live in a part of the country that I've always wanted to visit.

stylebyrachael said...

Yes, we are all thinking and praying for all creatures in the area!

Buckhead Belle said...

Oh my gosh, I have been thinking about y'all! Praying for all the wildlife!

Trish said...

Thank you for the update, thinking of you and John, Lori and everyone down there...espcially worried for all of the wildlife and the beaches. I'm sending lots of love and well wishes to the entire Gulf Coast, this is awful!!


Brilliant job you both are doing in keeping up with this. A huge tragedy. One of my daughter's friends is an exec w/Oceaneering, a company who did contract work on this rig. They have the most amazing pics ever, but they are of the event, not now. Our guys know how to deal with all this. I'm a native Houstonian, have always lived around the Gulf and have great confidence in the technology of the companies & our Coast Guard in this area. Still, keep up the good work. xx's

Simply Mel said...

I've finally had a few moments to get back into 'the world' and of course, I had to stop here first. We do not have television, so all my news is gathered via internet/blogs/bbc. In any event, I'm completely sickened by this entire oil spill. As you know, we have had our fair share of disgusting oil spillage in the Bay Area, and it breaks my heart to see what happens to our planet, the innocent wildlife, sealife, and eco-system because of our gross dependency on oil. Disgust. I'm praying hard, something fierce to the powers that be that a miracle happens.
Thank you for these incredibly, informative posts.

Jenny said...

Such a heartbreaking post.

Vynuss said...

Thinking of you Bumpkin!! (and Lori, and the entire Gulf Coast, and all the helpless wildlife)
How sad and scary the damage this can cause. I just saw a post that it's 5 times greater than first thought. :(
Praying for you all.
Thanks for keeping us updated!

Holly said...

I seriously have not watched the news in over a week...I feel stupid saying this, but I had no idea. My father in Law is an {oh crap I cannot remember what he is} and is currently a professor at LSU and he has not mentioned this...I'll have to ask. Thoughts and prayer for you and for the entire Gulf coast.