Updated: Drilling Rig Disaster Could Send Oil Spill Into Gulf Islands National Seashore
AccuWeather.com meteorologists predicted the ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico will switch to a southerly direction and could push "oil on the surface of the ocean towards the southeastern U.S. coastline."
Gulf Islands officials were watching the developing situation but had not taken any precautions as of Thursday evening.
“We are monitoring real close, and we’re ready to act if it appears there’s going to be an environmental threat, but there aren’t any indications at this time of any imminent threat," said Chief Ranger Clay Jordon.
The National Park Service was staying in contact with both the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA forecast said "the oil should remain offshore for at least three days; however, inclement weather forecast for 23-25 Apr will impact response and recovery operations."
As of midday Thursday, the Gulf of Mexico current was taking oil from the sunken rig away from land, but meteorologists expect the current to change course as a storm from the Rockies begins to move towards the Mississippi Valley, AccuWeather.com said in a release.
"Surface oil washing upon beaches in Louisiana and Mississippi could be devastating for life along the coast," the company said.
While portions of Gulf Islands National Seashore are nesting grounds for four species of sea turtles, Chief Jordan said the nesting season typically doesn't arrive in earnest until June and July.