The U.S. Coast Guard will attempt to set fire to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill before it reaches beaches, and there is some concern that minor smoke could drift towards the Louisiana Delta.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists foresee winds from the south and southeast through early next week, but gusts late in the day on Thursday into Friday could reach 30 mph.
The Coast Guard said the spill will be burned in controlled zones, and they are not planning to ignite the entire spill at once.
If a decision is made to burn, then it may be possible for some folks in the New Orleans vicinity to be in the line of minor smoke. Some in the area may also notice the pungent odor of burning oil.
The storm system currently moving across the Pacific Northwest will head towards the nation's midsection by late week. Seas in the Gulf of Mexico will be choppy, with waves heights between 3 and 9 feet through at least Monday of next week. This would make the burning option dangerous, if not impossible.
Today, winds are light and seas are calm in the Gulf, which will aid Wednesday cleanup efforts of the Deepwater Horizon rig. These conditions should last through the day today.
CNN reports that the Coast Guard was considering the possible burning off of oil as early as Wednesday afternoon. The slick has moved to within 20 miles off the Louisiana coast.
If the winds continue as AccuWeather.com meteorologists have forecast, remnants of the oil slick could make it to the beaches along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida by early this weekend.
Two ships float near in a massive oil slick spreading in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist flew above the plume on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 from Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
Oil is spilling from the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sunk about 50 miles off the coast of Venice, La., last week.
There could be as much as 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board the sunken rig. Experts studying the spill estimate that 42,000 gallons of crude oil are leaking each day.
The current area of the slick has stretched as wide as 42 miles by 80 miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
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