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Miami and the Florida Keys face a 61 percent to 80 percent chance of being hit with tar balls from BP Plc’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to U.S. projections.
Shorelines with the greatest chance of being soiled by oil, 81 percent to 100 percent, stretch from the Mississippi River Delta to the western Panhandle of Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today in a statement on its projection for the next four months.
Much of Florida’s west coast has a “low probability” of “oiling” from the leak that began with an explosion on a BP- leased drilling rig on April 20, the agency said.
The Florida Keys, Miami and Fort Lauderdale face a greater risk because oil may be caught up in the Loop Current, a flow of warm water that snakes into the Gulf and then moves east, NOAA said. Scientists say the current could carry the oil at a speed of about 100 miles (161 kilometers) a day around the tip of Florida, potentially fouling the Keys and Miami Beach.