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Gulf oil spill: Good weather to hold until at least Friday

May 4, 2010 |  1:45 pm

After recent squalls passed by, calm, sunny weather finally descended on the Gulf of Mexico region Tuesday, according to Shawn O’Neil, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell, La.

Wind gusts slowed to a gentle 5-to-10 mph, headed south early Tuesday, and were expected to reverse by late in the day. Twenty miles out to sea, wells had subsided from as much as 10 feet in recent days to 3 feet or less.

This pattern of flip-flopping gentle winds is typical for the time of year in the Gulf region and is expected to hold through the week. However, the gusts may grow a little stronger on Thursday, O’Neil said.

The respite will end by Friday or so, when a new cold front is expected to bring rough weather and erratic winds. As with the last front, the winds are predicted to head strongly south as the front approaches, then switch toward the north as it passes over.

-- Jill Leovy

Photo: The struggle between business and nature is not new to states along the Gulf Coast as natural gas rigs appear off the coast of Dauphin Island, Ala., where visitors enjoy the beach. Credit: Carolyn  Cole / Los Angeles Times