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 email@example.com. 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.
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