That large oil sheen that's been hanging around anywhere from a few miles to half a mile off Pensacola Beach is bound to come ashore, and probably sooner rather than later. What we don't need is yet another BP storage tank washing up on Pensacola Beach.
2. Obama in Pensacola Tuesday.
Details are still sketchy and conflicting about President Obama's fourth trip to the Gulf Coast. He will be in Pensacola Tuesday, the PNJ says. And he will address the nation Tuesday night. That much seems certain.
CNN and the Associated Press separately are reporting this morning that he will return to Washington Tuesday night to "address the nation..." There are a few scattered reports that he will stay in Pensacola. The PNJ is reporting late this morning that traffic on Highway 98 through Gulf Breeze and across 3-mile Bridge will be closed Tuesday morning from 8 to 11 am.
If the president does stay in the Pensacola area it probably would be Monday night but it's anyone's guess where. We'd like to think it would be somewhere along Pensacola Beach. With just two road entrances to the island, security to protect the president from all the right-wing nuts around here would be easier.
And we have tarballs. If there aren't enough for mind-numbing TV visuals, maybe Orange Beach, Alabama, would lend us some oily pancakes.
Whadda ya think? If you were President Obama, would you rather stay in Julian MacQueen's Hilton Hotel with room service from its very fine H2O restaurant, or Republican Robert Rinke's Portofino condo complex where $10,000-a-week units now are so cheap you could put up the entire White House press corps for peanuts, or Jimmy Buffett's brand-spanking new, almost-ready-to-open Margaritaville Beach Hotel? (See left) The staff might be a little green, but the view of the oil slick should be breath-taking.
We'd be happy to offer President Obama the guest room in our humble home, but the BP oil catastrophe has She Who Must be Obeyed feeling stressed out lately. And, it might undermine her recent vow to follow Erma Bombeck's advice, which a friend says she imparted as she was dying, to "entertain more and clean less."
Actually, that's not an accurate quote and the late Ms. Bombeck didn't write it as she was dying. But shsh! Don't tell her. Life has been good lately as we entertain our friends, even if "the carpet is stained or the sofa is faded."
3. Shrimp Boats Are A-Skimming, They're Skimming Today.
The BP oil spill is giving new life to the very first, truly terrible Country-Western tune we can remember hearing as a child. "Shrimp Boats Are A-Coming" is a classic of this dubious genre. But it sounds a lot better if you slightly alter the idea to include the "collection of heavy, thick, dispersant-treated oil," as Rick Outzen reports an oil spill subcontractor has done:
The crew of one of the thousands of Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) working in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill recently recovered approximately two tons of tarball material in the Gulf of Mexico.Apparently, praise is pouring in: "creative" ... "efficient"... "effective"... "a great example of the heart and soul of the response." Rick has more, including a photo of showing some of the collected oil.
The recovery was the result of the kind of creative thought and innovation at work among the more than 27,000 people working around the clock in the Gulf of Mexico in the largest oil spill response in U.S. history.
Designed by Gerry Matherne, a BP contractor and nearshore task force leader, the idea is simple. A shrimp boat with outriggers on each side drags mesh oil-collection bags made of perforated webbing near the ocean surface. As the boat trawls to collect oil patches, the bags, attached to an aluminum frame, collect oil. When filled, the bags are disconnected from the frame by crew on support vessels, and then towed to a lift barge for hoisting into a collection barge.
4. Florida Fishing Closed.
Late Sunday afternoon, state agencies "issued an executive order" temporarily closing about 27 miles of coastal state waters "offshore of Escambia County." The harvesting of "saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp" is banned, although "catch and release" is permitted.
A map has been issued showing the extent of the fishing ban (see above). Locally, the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier (left) remains open for sight seeing and catch-and-release fishing.
5. Hurricane Watch.
A tropical wave of interest to hurricane watchers has formed about 1,400 miles East-Southeast of the Windward Islands. The National Hurricane Center said this morning that conditions are thought to be "conducive for development during the next day or so."
Computer spaghetti forecast models at this point are, so to speak, all over the map:
In addition to the National Hurricane Center, a useful web site for those who want to keep abreast of tropical developments is Jim Williams' HurricaneCity.com. Another is Central Florida Hurricane Center. Both have been at it for over a decade. We've found them essential resources in tropical times like these: reliable, responsible, and well informed.
Jim also maintains "Cane Talk," a message board where quite a few storm chasers, hurricane gurus, and others (including some Pensacola Beach residents) share storm information, answer questions from readers, and hash out where they think storms are headed. Spend a little time there and you'll soon figure out who has a good crystal ball and who is in need of serious counseling.