Oil Spill Spreads Across the Gulf

June 15th, 2010 at 9:00 pm by under FOX10 News, FOX10 Stormtracker Weather, Jason Smith - FOX10 Outdoors

New spill estimates suggest that the oil is flowing at a rate of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day. This is 1.5-2.5 million gallons a day! The oil has been flowing since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20th. For two months, the oil has poured into the Gulf and little has been done to slow the leak.

Satellite images show that the area of sheen has been steadily spreading over the north central Gulf of Mexico. We have already seen light impacts of oil from Petit Bois Island, AL to Navarre, FL. Fox Ten News crews have documented small areas of tar balls and sheen as far up Mobile Bay as Gaillard Island and the eastern shore near Weeks Bay. Impacts are more significant in lower Perdido Bay.

Shifting winds and currents help dictate where the oil spreads in the short term. We saw significant impacts in south Baldwin County over the weekend. Temporarily, the situation is better with only light tar balls reported in this area. This week, winds have been a little lighter and more westerly. The oil is now spreading off the Florida Panhandle, with most of the sheen a few miles off the beaches. It’s only a matter of time before winds increase out of the south and we see this stuff back on the beaches. We will see good days and bad days with the oil. It’s going to be streaky as long as we are on the leading edge of the plume. If the leak continues, I fear that the problem will gradually get more serious with each passing week.

Efforts to set up boom has proven ineffective at times. The boom is not strong enough to withstand stronger winds and choppy conditions. Tides are strong enough to make the situation even more difficult to contain. We see tidal ranges as much as two and a half feet during some stages of the tidal cycle. This produces a powerful current that rips even well anchored boom apart.

I have spent a lot of time fishing on the waters from Mobile Bay to Choctawhatchee Bay and beyond. The amount of water in the Gulf that is affected by the spill is well beyond our ability to police. Riding around Mobile Bay on Monday morning, the reality of the situation hit home for me. Even the relatively small geographical area of Mobile Bay is too large to defend from the oil. A fleet of 2,000 boats armed with skimmers and boom couldn’t fight of the oil if the slick decided to track into our waters like it did in Barataria Bay near Grand Isle earlier in the month.

There is just too much of this stuff out there. It’s overwhelming, disheartening, and frightening. It’s June 15th, and the wind is light out of the southwest tonight. I can smell the crude in the air tonight outside the Fox Ten News studios.

Jason Smith

6 Responses to “Oil Spill Spreads Across the Gulf”

  1. ronniecox says:

    Jason , i moved here last year after IKE , me and my boats. i’m mostly offshore guy, no good right now.i live over in silverhill and looking for some place to fish in shore. i have done some but with all the booms and loaded boat ramps,no live bait, don’t have a clue what to do. ]i moved over here to fish. just point me in the right direction, please and i can do the rest. my heart is broken over the oil. us people don’t have enough years left to see the clean gulf again. thanks for the help. capt. ron

  2. Teresa Wilson says:

    WHY DOESN’T SOMEBODY MAKE ALL OF THE BP CEO’S GET OUT ON THE BEACHES, AND IN THE MARSHES, AND PHYSICALLY CLEAN UP THE OIL !!! IT’S NOT RIGHT FOR THEM TO SIT IN THEIR AIR CONDITIONED OFFICES AND PLAY IN THEIR SAILBOATS IN THE WATERS AROUND ENGLAND WHILE OUR WATERS ARE BEING POLLUTED BECAUSE OF THEIR GREED !!!!!!!

  3. Adrienne says:

    I KNOW THERE IS WORK FOR THE MEN DOING MOST OF THE CLEANUP BUT IS THERE ANYTHING FOR US WOMEN? I AM IN DESPERATE NEED OF WORK AND WOULD LOVE TO AID IN THE CLEANUP. AT THIS POINT I THINK THEY SHOULD TAKE ALL OF THE WORK THEY CAN GET!!!

  4. DeAnthony King says:

    First off, I must say you guys are doing a bang up job with the coverage. Now, I need to speak on Judge Feldman. Is he an freaking idiot? Who does he think he is to overturn a ruling that the federal government has put into place? Saying, “What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm.” Is this not true? I mean, wake up and smell the oil, if they cut corners on one rig, who’s to say that they didn’t on all of the others. Look, this one rig has effected the whole Southeast region of this country. Killed business, demolished fun, and ruined plans long in coming. I would call that “irreparable harm”! They have proven that there is no plan for when something like this occurs. I understand that there are hundreds of oil workers and affiliates who are out of work because of the ban, but look at the tens of thousands of families of the coast who are suffering because of this one spill. So tell me judge, who is really the victim here?

  5. JJ says:

    I am curious to know how your team of professional journalists have not come across this information and more specifically, how they have not seen the erie ties that are found on this single taxpayer funded page.

    http://www.mms.gov/tarprojectcategories/behavior.htm

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