What effect a hurricane would have on the still-flowing Gulf oil spill depends heavily on how large the storm is, as well as its exact location.
Depending on it's trajectory, it could either push the oil further out to sea, or move it inland, with potentially devastating effects to marshlands and local wildlife.
Dr. Piers Champan, Head of the Oceanography Department at Texas A&M University says that if a storm surge were to move inland, the oil would be left behind even after the waters recede. The oil has a tendency to stick to organic matter, and there would be plenty of that along the coastline to prevent it from heading back out to sea.
However, Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon reminds us that while it could be harmful, we should remember that the storm itself could have more dire consequences.
"If you're looking at a Category 4 or 5 storm with 20 ft. storm surge, you're not going to care if there's a little oil in there. You're going to get out."
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