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Monday, May 17, 2010 - 10:36am

Oil Likely To Reach Georgia-Bound Current

Researchers tracking the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico say, computer models show the black ooze already may have entered a major current that could send oil to Georgia's coast.

A Tampa scientist says, one model shows, the oil already has hit the so-called loop current, which snakes around Florida to the Georgia coast.

A Georgia scientist says, the key to possible oil damage here will be how long it takes B.P. to cap the still-flowing Deep Horizon well.

"It's very possible to get oil here," says Jay Brandes, a researcher at the Skidaway Island Institute of Oceanography who has been following the spill.  "It's not likely at the moment.  But, the longer you let it happen, it's like a crap shoot."

Brandes says, easterly currents right now would protect Georgia's coast, but those currents will change in the June-to-November hurricane season.

"If they are not successful, and it goes until hurricane season, or it goes until fall and winter season, then it's much more likely that we'll see oil along our coastline and we'll have to start really watching for it and trying to take actions," Brandes says.

A Miami scientist says, he can't think of a scenario where the oil doesn't reach the loop current.

Other models show the oil dangerously close to it.

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