NOAA Suspends Offshore Oil Spill Trajectory Forecasts

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Source: Monroe County Tourist Development Council

June 19, 2010

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended daily production of offshore Transocean/BP oil spill trajectory maps, according to a report on NOAA’s website that was confirmed by an official of the Unified Command in the Florida Keys.

If the threat of shoreline impacts to the Keys resumes, NOAA said, the agency plans to again produce offshore trajectory maps.

The website explains the suspension, because the northern end of the Loop Current has been pinched off into a large clockwise eddy (Eddy Franklin) so there is no clear path for spilled oil to enter the Loop Current from the source in the northern Gulf of Mexico that is about 500 miles northwest of Key West.

“There (also) have been no reports of recoverable oil in the Loop Current or Eddy Franklin and the oil has moved to the north and away from the Eddy Franklin (and) NOAA will continue to monitor the area with aircraft, vessel observations and satellite analysis,” the report added.

Potential impacts cannot completely be ruled out, officials said, until the leaking Transocean/BP well is completely plugged and oil no longer flows into the ocean.

Both Coast Guard and NOAA officials said they are prepared if any oil residues should reach the Keys. Officials said up to 300 trained personnel are contracted to respond to mitigate tar balls. Additional resources can be called upon, if needed. BP would fund any needed cleanup costs.

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