Meteorologists are now saying that crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster is in the Loop Current and coming for the Florida Keys. At least in the Sunshine state, this has been the great fear the entire time. It also is a pretty sure sign that there is far more oil here than any of the official estimates have calculated, but anyone following this disaster already knew that.
So what does this mean? The Florida Keys are the part of the state that should be the most concerned, and if I understand meteorologists correctly, then Southeast Florida is actually facing more danger than Southwest. Because the Loop flows well to the west of the state, then loops around the tip north of Cuba and flows into the Gulf Stream. Yes, that is a link to Wikipedia. This is a political site, and if you really want to know more about the science, I am sure there are better sources. What I can tell you is that behind Louisiana (the state with the closest proximity to the spill), Florida has always been the state most endangered by this incident because water in the Gulf of Mexico flows straight for us.
And in the Florida Keys, this is especially bad news. The delicate islands have a tourism economy, and also have little infrastructure for staging any type of massive cleanup. If this comes to Miami, the ability to respond is probably stronger, but there could also be a lot more money lost in canceled reservations. And God forbid if anything closes down one of Florida's major ports.
But we should all be concerned about this. The Huffington Post headline on the splash page now says "Flowing Toward Florida" in big type. I'm afraid anybody planning a vacation to Sanibel or Daytona will be reticent based on this news, even if those areas are less likely to be hit with large amounts of oil. Of course, most everywhere can still be affected. The panhandle is already dealing with reports of tar balls beaching, though reports last week seemed to have been exaggerated. That doesn't erase the bad publicity, though, and in the sale of paradise, bad publicity is not good publicity. If oil is coming down the west coast from east of the Loop, that could be bad along the Gulf Coast even as the bulk rushes toward the Keys and Miami.
I think it is time soon to start compiling the positions of Florida's major elected officials on drilling. Voters should beat the heck out of all of them for this.