May 4, 2010

Calmer Seas Aiding Gulf Oil Spill Containment Efforts

The combination of rain and calmer seas aided the containment of the massive oil slick in the Gulf on Monday, which has yet to reach the Louisiana shore.

Favorable winds and waves could keep the slick from reaching shore for a few more days or longer.

The slick is about the size of Delaware, but reports are that it has shrunk in size due to mixing with the water that was caused by rough seas over the last couple of days.

Experts believe that the oil has merely gone underwater.

Diminishing winds and waves along with rain on Monday are credited with keeping the slick from expanding towards the coast, which was previously feared to occur over the weekend.

Winds will remain light from the north and waves will be a much gentler at 1 to 3 feet today, which will aid in keeping the slick from rapidly spreading closer to the coast.
The calmer seas will impact the size of the slick however. With less mixing, more of the oil should stay above the surface and could expand the size of the slick once again.

The improving conditions have also been credited with allowing more ships into the region and BP has begun drilling a relief well in the region.

According to a BP press release, "Offshore booms and specialist oil spill response vessels, skimmers and barges will return to operation in calmer seas."

Likewise, BP says it has 230,000 gallons of dispersant it can use when seas become calm enough.

Seas are expected to remain calm through the weekend.
When and if the oil reaches the shore, it is likely to come in as small pockets, rather than one large slick.

However, experts still aren't clear on whether or not any oil will reach the coast.
Story by Meteorologist Eric Reese

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