National Geographic reports that while attention has been focused on the Gulf of Mexico, "Florida - especially the Keys - should be bracing for the worst."
As oil continues to surge into the Gulf of Mexico from the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig accident, experts warn that the Gulf's powerful Loop Current could whip millions of gallons of oil around Florida's peninsula and north to East Coast beaches.
There's no predicting the exact movements of the oil spill—which is growing by at least 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons, or 794,937 liters) a day. But winds could push the slick south, where oil might get swept into the current.
Born in warm Caribbean waters, the Loop Current pulses north into the Gulf of Mexico and travels in a clockwise pattern toward Florida—ending up in one of the oceans' mighty conveyor belts, the Gulf Stream.
If oil is swept up into the Loop Current—which moves at about 3.3 to 6.5 feet (1 to 2 meters) a second—"there's essentially no way to stop it," said Tony Sturges professor emeritus in oceanography at Florida State University.
Click here to read the complete story from National Geographic: "Gulf Oil Spill Could Reach East Coast Beaches"