More than half-way through the summer, BP has finally capped the spewing well in the Gulf of Mexico and is, at this point, preventing any more oil from spewing from the ruptured Deep Horizon Oil well 5,000 feet below the surface. There are reports that the capping has instigated a seepage of oil in other spots, which could be terrible if confirmed, but with the first of two relief wells almost complete and set to open in just a couple short weeks, officials are hopeful that there is an end in sight to this mess.
With torrential rain and huge surf all week from the late hurricane Alex, spending time outside this week was almost as impossible as it was on the insanely hot days of last week. With that, minimal oil product has been reported or needing to be cleaned up on the beach in the last two weeks. The beaches have remained clean, and what product that has come ashore has been cleaned up within hours. Not once has landfall been that to where beach closure was warranted.
Easterly and southeasterly winds have continued to keep the plume away from us. As of right now, we are not within the NOAA projected 72 hour of uncertainty. This is good news for those that are wanting to come down for the Annual Fourth of July Celebrations that take place at Pier Park every year. At this point, all Florida beaches are open, and the beaches in Panama City Beach are looking amazing.
With winds predominantly from the east and south east, the plume and additional oil product has stayed away from us the last 10 days keeping the amount of oil product, including tarballs, sheen and other effects from the Deep Horizon Oil Spill off our beaches. Over the weekend, there was very few scattered debris with signs of oil on it reported in just a few areas on Panama City Beach. Very few tarballs have been reported in Panama City Beach in the last 10 days.
Right now, the forecast looks good for Fourth of July weekend.
Putting all opinions aside (educated or not =) ), the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a serious concern for Bay County and the beaches of Panama City Beach. Rather than force you to read through this whole post just to find out what you are really wanting to know, I’ll save you a bit of time. More information is below if you want it, otherwise:
As of right now, there IS NO OIL on or near the beaches of Panama City Beach. In addition, as of right now, we are not within the “area of uncertainty” with no expectation of oil hitting our shores – today.
Check after the break for resources on how to track the spill, what Bay County is doing to prepare and what will happen if we do enter the “area of uncertainty”.