Environmental Protection

AccuWeather Predicts Storm May Spread Deepwater Oil Spill to Coast

Upcoming winds threaten to bring oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico to beaches along four states by this weekend, according to AccuWeather.com.

While sunshine and calm seas will aid in cleanup efforts of the Deepwater Horizon rig through Wednesday, thunderstorms, increasing winds, and building seas are forecast to spread from west to east late Thursday and Friday.

Meteorologists expect winds to pull up out of the south Thursday and into Friday as the storm system in the Pacific Northwest moves across the nation's midsection. They predict these winds will pull oil toward the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

The Deepwater Horizon rig caught on fire April 20 after an explosion, then sunk two days later. The oil, which is a rainbow sheen with areas of emulsified crude, had spread from the rig to cover about 20 miles square by Sunday. The Coast Guard reported that Gulf Coast states have been notified and invited to participate in the Area Command Center in Robert, La. The agency noted that the response team had recovered 33,726 gallons of oil-water mix through the use of surface skimmers as of Sunday.

"Our response plan is focused on quickly securing the source of the subsurface oil emanating from the well, clean the oil on the surface of the water, and keeping the response well offshore," said Rear Adm. Mary Landry, Incident Commander and Federal On Scene Coordinator.

The cause of the incident is being investigated by the Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service. BP is required to fund the cost of the response and cleanup operations. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, established after the Exxon Valdez incident, is also available to fund cleanups, if needed.

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