The disaster, in its 42nd day Monday, is already the largest oil spill in U.S. history and officials are treating it it as the country's biggest environmental catastrophe.
Although Louisiana's wetlands and fishing grounds have been the worst hit so far by the spill, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said moderate southerly and southwesterly winds this week may start moving oil closer to the Mississippi Delta.
"Model results indicate that oil may move north to threaten the barrier islands off Mississippi and Alabama later in the forecast period," NOAA said in its 72-hour prediction on the expected trajectory of the huge oil slick.Mississippi and Alabama have escaped lightly so far, with only scattered tar balls and "oil debris" reaching its coasts.
But the NOAA forecast was a sober reminder that oil from the unchecked spill, broken up and carried by winds and ocean currents, could threaten a vast area of the U.S. Gulf Coast, including tourism mecca Florida, as well as Cuba and Mexico.
Seven weeks in, no end in sight. Could be another 2 months and change before it stops, too. Should BP's latest plan fail, and the sawed off riser pipe increases the spillage by another 20-25%, then who knows.
That worst-case scenario of hundreds of billions in damage is looking more and more like reality every day.