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Gulf oil spill: Weather will aid containment effort

May 3, 2010 |  9:31 am

AccuWeather reports that winds have calmed along the Gulf Coast, reducing seas and creating conditions much more favorable to efforts to contain and control the oil spill:

The frontal boundary that is sparking locally drenching, gusty thunderstorms will move a bit farther south and east out of the area on Tuesday. Once it moves out by midweek, generally rain-free, quiet weather is expected for at least several days.

The strong south-southeasterly winds (around 15 to 30 mph) that stirred rough seas across the north-central Gulf of Mexico over the weekend are already beginning to ease.

Seas averaged between 8 and 12 feet over the weekend and are expected to subside to 4 to 8 feet Monday as the winds begin to weaken.

By Monday evening, seas will slacken even more to 2 to 4 feet.

On Tuesday, seas are forecast to be 1 to 3 feet with calm winds.

Thunderstorms developing along a frontal boundary stalled across the central Gulf Coast region could hamper efforts to contain the spill and rescue wildlife Monday.

In addition to producing lightning, some of the thunderstorms could even become severe with damaging wind gusts, large hail and perhaps an isolated waterspout.
Winds may become slightly offshore Tuesday into Wednesday. In theory, this would tend to push some of the slick away from the coast. However, it is questionable that the winds may never become strong enough to have much impact.

A light onshore flow is expected during the second half of the week.
-- Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski