Will Oil Spill in the Gulf Affect The Florida Keys?

All eyes are on Florida now as the oil spill that is still leaking from the Deepwater Horizon still floods into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Parts of the oil may already being enterting the loop current, a warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucat√°n peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops west and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits.

Shoreline property owners and real estate professionals are concerned the disaster could literally hit home by decreasing house values. There is no way at this time to tell what the depreciation - if any - will be on the property values in the Florida Keys. Far too many variables play a role in predicting the coastline(s) that will be affected by the spill.

Most oil spill experts say any oil carried by the Loop Current would be more dispersed and highly weathered by the time it gets to the Keys, making it highly unlikely that large “rivers” of heavy oil would impact the Keys.  The weathered and diluted oil would likely appear in the form of tar balls. While arrival of oil in any form is unacceptable, tar balls are “significantly less toxic,” according to Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole. It is also possible that some areas of the Keys could be affected and others not, or that the oil residues could remain in the Loop Current and Gulf Stream and miss the Keys altogether. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is providing oil slick trajectory maps regarding the oil spill and its proximity to the Florida Keys. Forecast maps are updated daily to plot and project approximate positions of the oil slick, and provide the latest available forecast showing movement in and around Gulf waters.  The map below was issued on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010.